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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Fiscal Year 2002 Project Summary Sheet

Project: Community Dynamics along a Salinity Gradient in Florida Bay

Web Sites: http://sofia.usgs.gov/; http://Everglades.fiu.edu/BRD; http://www.fcsc.USGS.gov (see http://cars.er.usgs.gov/); http://flaecohist.er.usgs.gov

Location (Subregions & Counties): Central Everglades including Florida Bay: Monroe County

Funding (Source): Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI), USGS Place-Based Studies

Principal Investigator(s): Michael B. Robblee, mike_robblee@usgs.gov, 305-242-7832; Ed Matheson, eddie.Matheson@fwc.state.fl.us, 727-896-2223; Gordon Thayer, Gordon.Thayer@noaa.gov, 252-728-8747; Lawrence Rozas, Lawrence.rozas@noaa.gov, 409-766-3532

Project Personnel: Andre Daniels, andre_daniels@usgs.gov, 305-348-6997

Supporting Organizations: NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service; FWC/Florida Marine Research Institute; NPS/Everglades National Park

Associated / Linked Projects: Temporal Dynamics Of Seagrass Associated Fish And Invertebrate Populations In Johnson Key Basin, Western Florida Bay (Michael Robblee, USGS); Immigration Pathways Of Pink Shrimp Postlarvae Into And Within Florida Bay (Joan Browder, Maria Criales, NOAA; Michael Robblee, USGS)

Overview & Status: This project evaluates seagrass associated fish and invertebrate (caridean and penaeid shrimp) community structure in relation to seagrass and salinity across Florida Bay. Project objectives include documenting fish and shrimp community structure: at the end of the dry season (annual high salinity) and wet season (annual low salinity); along local depth gradients (bank, basin and near key); in relation to seagrass micro-habitat (seagrass blade density, blade length, biomass, etc.); and in years when the bay functioned as a positive estuary and as a negative estuary. Field collections have been completed. Field collections were planned for three years, however, when it became apparent that hopes for hypersaline conditions were not going to occur fieldwork was stopped after two years. Sample processing has been delayed but is nearing completion. The Oracle database planned for this project, located at Everglades National Park, is running. Data entry is underway.

Needs & Products: The greatest need would be for an extremely wet or dry year to occur in south Florida and for the bay to exhibit positive or negative estuarine conditions. It would then be appropriate to continue field collections in order to capture fish and invertebrate community responses across the bay representative of these conditions. Absent extreme salinity conditions this project has documented the seasonal distribution of fish and invertebrates in relation to macro and microhabitat conditions across Florida Bay for two generally average salinity years. Publications are planned which will thoroughly discuss these data in relation to salinity and seagrass habitat. No final report or data report is available yet, however the data report is in preparation. Despite delays, data analysis is under way and project results are being presented at conferences and restoration workshops.

Matheson, R.E., D.K. Camp, M.B. Robblee, G.W. Thayer, L.P. Rosas and D.L. Meyer. 2001. Distribution and abundance of seagrass-associated fauna in Florida Bay: The effects of salinity and other habitat variables on resident fish and selected decapod crustaceans. In: Proceedings 2001 Florida Bay Science Conference, Key Largo, Florida, April 23-26, 2001, p.192-194.

Matheson, R.E., D.K. Camp, M.B. Robblee, G.W. Thayer, L.P. Rozas, and D.L. Meyer. 2001. Distribution and abundance of seagrass-resident fishes in Florida Bay in relation to habitat characteristics. ASIH, July 3-8, Kansas City.

Application to Everglades Restoration: This project contributes to a central science need for restoration in Florida Bay; to understand the role of salinity as it has impacted the Bay’s ecological function over the last century and to predict the impacts of alterations of upstream flows into the Bay associated with restoration activities to the ecological function of the Bay. This project was planned to strongly complement a long-term USGS study of fish and invertebrate populations in Johnson Key Basin, western Florida Bay. In turn, these projects and a joint NOAA/USGS project on pink shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum, recruitment to Florida Bay contribute to the development of a pink shrimp simulation model under development by NOAA for the purposes of evaluating the merit and success of upstream water management activities and for use as a performance measure for Florida Bay restoration.

Study Milestones 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Familiarity       xxxx              
Design       xxxx              
Field Work       x xxxx xxxx xxxx x      
Data Analysis               xxoo oooo    
Initial Reporting             x xxoo oooo    
Quality Assurance               xxxx      
Results Published               oooo oooo    
Synthesis                 oooo    
Note: "x" indicates task completed during quarter, and "o" indicates task planned, and partially completed

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