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New Sourcebook Released on the South Florida Ecosystem

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After about four years and a lot of hard work and perseverance by the editors and an impressive cast of well-known and highly respected authors, a comprehensive volume (1024 pp.) edited by James Porter and Karen Porter has been published. The title of the book is "The Everglades, Florida Bay, and Coral Reefs of The Florida Keys: An Ecosystem Sourcebook."

It features imagery by the world-famous landscape photographer, Clyde Butcher, documents ecological linkages between South Florida ecosystems extending from the Everglades to the coral reefs of the Florida Keys, and summarizes state-of-the-art research on restoration, conservation, and management.

Two papers from St. Petersburg personnel comprise chapters in the book. One titled "Tidal and Meteorological Influences on Shallow Marine Groundwater Flow in the Upper Florida Keys" is by Chris Reich, Don Hickey, Gene Shinn (USGS-St. Pete) and Anne Tihansky (WRD-Tampa). Highlights are:

  • Ground water flows in a net direction from Florida Bay toward the Atlantic Ocean (and reef tract) at a rate of 2 m per day.

  • Two mechanisms drive groundwater flow at the study site. (1) Atlantic tides that have a 1-m amplitude and change approximately every 6 hours (2 high and 2 low tides per day) cause ground water to 'slosh' back and forth beneath the Florida Keys. (2) Water level on the Florida Bay side of the Keys is higher by about 13 cm than the Atlantic Ocean level if you average the water levels over several days.

  • The concern now is to determine whether the injected effluents from treatment plants and septic-tank leachates throughout the Keys are being transported toward and released into the surface waters of the nearshore hardbottom communities and coral reef environments.

The other paper is a chapter titled "Linkages between Estuarine and Reef Fish Assemblages: Enhancement by the Presence of Well-Developed Mangrove Shorelines." The authors are Janet Ley (Australian Maritime College, Tasmania, Australia) and Carole McIvor (BRD-St. Pete). Highlights from their paper are:

  • Mangroves are being destroyed worldwide despite their known value for many important fishery species harvested in coastal habitats. Identifying linkages with other habitats and conditions that contribute to greater habitat quality will provide management information on sustaining biodiversity and fish production.

  • We quantified fish assemblages in northeastern Florida Bay at 131 estuarine mangrove sites over 13 consecutive months using visual census surveys. We also measured corresponding features of the sites spanning a complex estuarine gradient from upstream near sources of freshwater inflow to downstream nearer inlets from the Florida Keys reef tract.

  • The large roving fish guild (26,510 individuals from 28 taxa) included several species of fishery interest. Number of species and densities of six of the eight most abundant species increased downstream along the gradient. Greater densities of juvenile blue-striped grunts (Haemulon sciurus), gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus), and great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) occurred at sites where (1) water was deeper, clearer, more marine in salinity regime; (2) mangrove structure was more highly developed; and (3) submersed vegetation was more abundant.

  • We conclude that well-developed mangrove shorelines near the Florida reef tract therefore function as staging habitats for juveniles and sub-adults of barracuda, blue-striped grunts and gray snappers, potentially enhancing both reef and estuarine fish assemblages.

Related Web Sites
South Florida Information Access (SOFIA)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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in this issue: Fieldwork Geophysical Survey of Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Sediment Study on the Columbia River

Outreach cover story:
St. Petersburg Open Houses

Earth Science Week 2001

Woods Hole's First Annual Open House

Shark Festival and Sanctuary Celebration 2001

Meetings Metadata Workshop with Peter Schweitzer

Awards Geochemistry Study Award

Staff & Center News Richie Williams Speaks on Science and Religion

Farewell to Ardis Greatorex

Welcome to Chris Sherwood

USGS Mendenhall Post-doc Fellowship

WHFC Visitors

Publications Passing the Torch for Production of Sound Waves

New South Florida Ecosystem Sourcebook Released

November Publications List

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