MARSH Madness 2015

With the NCAA basketball tournament and "bracketology" in full swing, I figured we should see how the Everglades would match up in a tournament of champions: MarSh Madness! I admit that this is inspired by the brilliant Mammal March Madness, and it in no way compares to the breadth and depth with which those folks are simulating a mammal combat competition of probabilities! But let's just throw out a bracket of our favorite Everglades inhabitants.

Mammal March Madness has 4 categories, with the winners of each advancing to the semifinals. In the Everglades, I'm keeping with that, with categories for Vertebrates; Invertebrates; Primary Producers, etc. (etc. for a couple of add-ons, floc and soil microbes); and Invasives . I imagine that the vertebrates/invertebrates would advance based on abilities like trophic level, aggressiveness, adaptations, resilience, and "special skills". Primary producers, etc. would be categorized by the likes of competitiveness, colonization ability, primary production/carbon sequestration, and defense mechanisms. Invasives (including both animals and plants), by invasion ability, competition, and the attributes for their corresponding group. Rankings have been assigned fairly arbitrarily and stereotypically.

Now, obviously, in 'real life,' a panther would pretty much always win out against a woodrat. But think on the population/community scale on how well that species does as a whole (and beyond just eating vs. getting eaten). Likewise, eventually an alligator could pair up against sawgrass - how to choose, since they don't really compete against each other in nature? Again, think of 'ecosystem services' of each group (relativized), and make your choice!

I will NOT be running any fancy statistics or algorithms, tallying up each player's attributes, etc. Maybe next year. But this year will be mostly a name recognition and wish fulfillment exercise to see how the Everglades flora and fauna would match up. I'll have polls up for each round, and YOU can vote on who continues. If you don't vote, I have a hunch "Periphyton 3" may come out on top. Poll is forthcoming - use the meantime to populate your bracket. Let it begiiiin!


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