Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Mark Cable Rains, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas L. Crisman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Kiefer, Ph.D., P.E., P.W.S.

Committee Member

Sarah E. Kruse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew A. Pasek, Ph.D.


Groundwater lake, Groundwater pond, Groundwater wetland


This dissertation explores the ecohydrology of Florida’s peculiar and poorly studied sandhill wetland and water features, particularly those located in west-central Florida. The primary research goals include: compilation and summarization of the available ecohydrologic information for features across Florida; comparison of water level and water geochemistry data between sandhill wetlands and waters and the regional aquifer to provide evidence of regional hydrologic control; and use of geophysical applications to examine the hydraulic connections between sandhill wetlands and waters and the regional aquifer.

From this research, a natural history of sandhill wetland and water ecohydrology is presented, highlighting: the differences between sandhill wetland and water features across the state; challenges these features bring to researchers and regulators; and the need for a statewide classification system and continued study. Comparisons of water level and water geochemistry data show the hydrology of west-central Florida features is controlled by the regional aquifer. Ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity along with borehole, water level and lithologic data were used to develop hydrogeologic configurations. These configurations were used to develop a conceptual model of the mechanisms of wetland-aquifer hydraulic connection, showing it as a function of aquifer confinement and overburden thickness. A fundamental ecohydrologic model also was developed, which suggests the hydrologic regime and ecological expression of sandhill wetlands and waters occur as a function of site-specific geomorphology (depth and size) relative to the typical range of the regional water table.