Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program:
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources


Alligator movement ecology in coastal South Carolina

September 2023 - December 2025


Participating Agencies

American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are an integral part of coastal wetland ecosystems in many parts of the southeastern United States. As human development and saltwater intrusion affect these coastal ecosystems, alligators will also be affected. Alligator movement is important to understand in the context of habitat linkages, trophic interactions, and ecosystem connectivity. They have different movement strategies to navigate salinity gradients and heterogeneous environments, including areas that are actively used and/or managed for people (e.g., developments, waterfowl hunting areas). This work builds on data collected by students and professors at Clemson University and scientists at South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This work will use movement models and habitat selection to better understand how American alligators utilize the landscape. Findings can help manage coastal areas and alligator populations, as well as inform mitigation actions related to hunting and human-alligator conflict.