The west-central Florida barrier island and inlet system is among the most varied in the world. The
combination of low wave energy and microtidal conditions produces a wide range in barrier and
Barrier islands and inlets in this region are affected by a complex suite of processes including
sediment availability, impacts of storms and hurricanes, circulation, and underlying geologic control.
For example, analysis of core samples and seismic data indicates that in some areas along the coast
the underlying limestone exerts a significant control on the location of the barrier islands.
The ages of barrier islands ranges from greater than 4,600 years at Siesta Key in the southern part
of the study area, to less than a decade at 3-Rooker Bar in the north. There is also evidence that the
location of some islands, such as Casey Key, have shifted considerably landward over thousands of years.