Authors

Jenna Binstein

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2014

Abstract

Mangrove ecosystems are a critical and characteristic habitat of the tropics and subtropics and are dominant along natural shorelines in Florida and the Caribbean. Red mangrove trees have a highly-developed root system that can remain permanently below water, or be flooded periodically by tides. These roots then provide a diverse habitat for fishes and invertebrates. The goal of this study was to gather baseline mangrove fish data at Broad Key. The Broad Key mangrove shoreline was divided into four smaller-scale habitats for study: Large Channel Mangroves, Small Channel Mangroves, Flats Mangroves and Bayside Mangroves. Thus, it was hypothesized that there would be a difference in fish abundance as well as a difference in abundance of species in the four smaller-scale habitats around Broad Key with the greatest abundance of fish and species being located in the mangroves off of Broad Creek. Data for this study were collected via snorkel using visual census techniques. The survey resulted in the quantification of over 218,000 fish in 35 taxa. This study also showed that when the total number of species is separated by habitat, the highest representation of species is found in the Large Channel, followed by the Small Channel habitat. It was found that the mesoscale variations in habitat at Broad Key do not show distinct variability or distribution, with the exception of a few species, including the gray snapper and blue striped grunt. Overall, this study provides a snapshot of the Broad Key mangrove habitats, and a baseline for the mangrove fish ecosystem present there.

Comments

Department: MBF

MPS Track: TME

Location: Broad Key, FL

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