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Paleosalinity as a Key for Success Criteria in South Florida Restoration

photo of a foram, mollusc, and ostracode
Project Investigator: G. Lynn Wingard

Project Personnel: Thomas M. Cronin, Charles W. Holmes, James Murray, Robert Stamm, Gary Dwyer

Project Start Date: 2001 End Date: 2005

Recent Funding: (FY05) USGS GE PES


To develop methodology for extracting water chemistry information from calcareous shelled animals; an understanding of the biology of the organisms; and to apply this information to shells found in soft sediment cores that span the last 100-300 years of South Florida history.

Please note - this is a completed project.

Please be sure to visit the South Florida Ecosystem History website

The objectives of this project are to 1) test and develop the methodology for extracting water chemistry information from selected calcareous shelled animals that grow within the water; 2) develop an understanding of the biology of the selected organisms so that the water chemistry data extracted from the shells can be put in temporal context; and 3) to apply this information to shells found in soft sediment cores that span the last 100-300 years of South Florida history in order to determine the seasonal variation in salinity and water sources prior to significant human alteration of the environment. These data will provide land managers with the necessary information to establish targets and performance measures as restoration of more natural timing and delivery of water proceeds.

A test comparison of instruments (SHRIMP, laser ablation, and ion microprobe) has been completed in FY02 and the ion microprobe has been selected as the best instrument for the metal elemental analyses of the shells. Growth experiments in the field and the laboratory are proceeding, and selected organisms showing growth have been removed and prepared for analyses on the microprobe. Analyses of these shells are currently proceeding. Data from the analyses will be correlated to salinity and temperature data from the growth sites to calibrate the shell chemistry data to water chemistry. Organisms from cores in Florida Bay at Russell Bank, Dragover, Bob Allen, Whipray, and Rankin have been selected for analyses and are in the process of being prepared for sectioning. A report on the methodologies and calibration will be completed within FY02.

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Script last updated: 23 October 2018 @ 12:03 PM by THF. Record creator: BJM. Record last updated by: KP.