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Biscayne National Park

Map showing location of Biscayne National Park
Map showing location of Biscayne National Park.
Biscayne National Park is located along the southeast edge of Florida, south of Miami. Visitors can enter the park by boat or by car at Convoy Point, which is located off of US 1. At Convoy Point, you can look around the park's Visitor Center, rent canoes, or sign up for a boat tour, snorkel trip or scuba dive.

Due to proposals by a developer to build on the Biscayne Keys, the area was established as a national monument in 1968. It was designated a national park in 1980. Biscayne National Park consists of mangroves that line the shoreline, the waters of Biscayne Bay, coral reefs and undeveloped key islands. Of the park's 180,000 acres, 95% is underwater.

For more information, please visit the Biscayne National Park website.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken April, 2000]

Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay is an estuary, a place where freshwater and salt water meet. Freshwater flow from the land supplies the bay with nutrients.

The northernmost Florida Keys lie at the eastern edge of Biscayne Bay. Coral reefs lie on the Atlantic side of the islands.

panoramic photo of Biscayne Bay
Facing east, a panoramic view of Biscayne Bay. The mainland is seen at far right. [larger image]

photo of Biscayne Bay open waters
[larger image]
Looking northeast over the open waters of Biscayne Bay, the vast expanse is only interrupted by keys and an occasional boater.

IPIX - Biscayne Bay
Stop to look at the rocky man-made Spoiled Island. Then turn and you'll see the clouds reflected in the waters on the bay-side horizon.

Navigate around this 360° view of Biscayne Bay.

  IPIX image of island and open waters of Biscayne Bay
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  


photo of island lined with mangroves
Looking north over Biscayne Bay at an island (at left) and at mangroves that line the shoreline (at back).
[larger image]
The island seen here is one of two man-made islands, the Spoiled Islands, found just south of the Mowry Canal. The islands were made sometime in the vicinity of the 1940's, when the Mowry Canal was formed.

The mangroves that line the shoreline help protect the bay's water by trapping eroding soil and pollutants from the inland.

Early settlers to South Florida regarded mangrove forests as being useless, mosquito-infested, uninhabitable lands. Today, ecologists realize their important role in coastal ecosystems. Mangrove leaves, trunks and branches fall into the water and are transformed into detritus, which is the basis of an elaborate food chain. Mangroves provide protected habitat, breeding grounds and nursery areas to many terrestrial and marine animals. Mangroves also provide shoreline protection from wind, waves and floods.

photo of Mowry Canal and mangrove shoreline
[larger image]
The mostly mangrove shoreline located a short distance northwest of the Convoy Point Visitor Center. The Mowry Canal (at far left) releases mainland waters into Biscayne Bay.

Seagrasses and Algae

Lush seagrass beds form grassy undersea meadows throughout Biscayne Bay. Seagrasses are flowering plants that have roots, stems and flowers. They produce oxygen and need clear water that allows the sunlight to reach them.

Seagrass beds provide hiding places and food for many different sea animals including the Florida spiny lobster, shrimp, fish, sea turtles and manatees.

photo of marine vegetation and rocks
[larger image]
photo of marine vegetation
[larger image]
photo of marine vegetation and rocks
[larger image]

IPIX - Biscayne Bay  
Look around Biscayne Bay and note how shallow and clear the waters are here. Many kinds of fish, starfish, sponges, crabs, soft corals and other marine plants and animals live in Biscayne Bay.

Navigate around this 360° view of Biscayne Bay.

  IPIX image of Lake Okeechobee's Herbert Hoover Dike, Rim Canal and agricultural fields
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the Biscayne Bay Area. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:



U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/biscaynebay/index.html
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Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (HSH)