Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

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What Is Seagrass?

Seagrasses are a type of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) have evolved from terrestrial plants and have become specialized to live in the marine environment. Like terrestrial plants, seagrasses have leaves, roots, conducting tissues, flowers and seeds, and manufacture their own food via photosynthesis. Unlike terrestrial plants, however, seagrasses do not possess the strong, supportive stems and trunks required to overcome the force of gravity on land. Rather, seagrass blades are supported by the natural buoyancy of water, remaining flexible when exposed to waves and currents.

Due to their morphology and growth habit, seagrasses are also sometimes confused with marine macroalgae; however closer examination reveals significant differences. Structurally, seagrasses are more closely related to terrestrial plants and, like terrestrial plants, possess specialized tissues that perform specific tasks within each plant. Conversely, algae are relatively simple and unspecialized in structure. While algae possess only a tough holdfast that assists in anchoring the plant to a hard substratum, seagrasses possess true roots that not only hold plants in place, but also are specialized for extracting minerals and other nutrients from the sediment. All algal cells possess photosynthetic structures capable of utilizing sunlight to produce chemical energy.
In seagrasses, however, chloroplasts occur only in leaves, thus confining photosynthesis to leaves. Further, algae are able to take up minerals and other nutrients directly from the water column via diffusion. Seagrasses however, transport minerals and nutrients in xylem and phloem. Finally, while most algae lack specialized reproductive structures, most seagrasses have separate sexes and produce flowers and seeds, with embryos developing inside ovaries.

The Value of Seagrasses

Within seagrass communities, a single acre of seagrass can produce over 10 tons of leaves per year. This vast biomass provides food, habitat, and nursery areas for a myriad of adult and juvenile vertebrates and invertebrates. Further, a single acre of seagrass may support as many as 40,00 fish, and 50 million small invertebrates. Because seagrasses support such high biodiversity, and because of their sensitivity to changes in water quality, they have become recognized as important indicator species that reflect the overall health of coastal ecosystems.

Seagrasses perform a variety of functions within ecosystems, and have both economic and ecological value. The high level of productivity, structural complexity, and biodiversity in seagrass beds has led some researchers to describe seagrass communities as the marine equivalent of tropical rainforests. While nutrient cycling and primary production in seagrasses tends to be seasonal, annual production in seagrass communities rivals or exceeds that of terrestrially cultivated areas. In Florida, Halodule beaudettei, has an estimated annual production (as measured in grams of carbon per square meter) of 182 – 730 g/C/m-2; Syringodium filiforme has an estimated annual production of 292 - 1095 g/C/m-2; and Thalassia testudinum has an estimated annual production 329 - 5840 g/C/m-2. Blade elongation in seagrasses averages 2-5 mm per day in Thalassia testudinum, 8.5 mm in Syringodium filiforme, and as much as 3.1 mm in Halodule beaudettei. In the Indian River Lagoon, Halodule beaudettei has been shown to produce one new leaf every 9 days during spring – the season of highest productivity (Virnstein 1982).

As habitat, seagrasses offer food, shelter, and essential nursery areas to commercial and recreational fishery species, and to the countless invertebrates that are produced within, or migrate to seagrasses. The complexity of seagrass habitat is increased when several species of seagrasses grow together, their leaves concealing juvenile fish, smaller finfish, and benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, bivalves, echinoderms, and other groups. Juvenile stages of many fish species spend their early days in the relative safety and protection of seagrasses. Additionally, seagrasses provide both habitat and protection to the infaunal organisms living within the substratum as seagrass rhizomes intermingle to form dense networks of underground runners that deter predators from digging infaunal prey from the substratum.

Seagrass meadows also help dampen the effects of strong currents, providing protection to fish and invertebrates, while also preventing the scouring of bottom areas. Finally, seagrasses provide attachment sites to small macroalgae and epiphytic organisms such as sponges, bryozoans, forams, and other taxa that use seagrasses as habitat. A number of studies have found epiphytes to be highly productive components of seagrass habitats (Penhale 1977, Heijs 1984, Tomasko & Lapointe 1991), with epiphytes in some systems accounting for up to 30% of ecosystem productivity, and more than 30% of the total above ground biomass (Penhale 1977, Morgan & Kitting 1984, Heijs 1984). Seagrass epiphytes also contribute to food webs, either directly via organisms grazing on seagrasses, or indirectly following the deaths of epiphytes, which then enter the food web as a detrital carbon source (Fry & Parker 1979, Kitting et al. 1984).

Economically, Florida’s 2.7 million acres of seagrass supports both commercial and recreational fisheries that provide a wealth of benefits to the state’s economy. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reported that in 2000, Florida’s seagrass communities supported commercial harvests of fish and shellfish valued at over 124 billion dollars. Adding the economic value of the nutrient cycling function of seagrasses, and the value of recreational fisheries to this number, FDEP has estimated that each acre of seagrass in Florida has an economic value of approximately $20,500 per year, which translates into a statewide economic benefit of 55.4 billion dollars annually. In Fort Pierce, Florida alone, the 40 acres of seagrass in the vicinity of Fort Pierce Inlet are valued at over $800,000 annually. When projected across St. Lucie County’s estimated 80,000 acres of seagrass, this figure increases to 1.6 billion dollars per year.

Threats to Seagrass Communities

Seagrasses are subject to a number of biotic and abiotic stresses such as storms, excessive grazing by herbivores, disease, and anthropogenic threats due to point and non-point sources of pollution, decreasing water clarity, excessive nutrients in runoff, sedimentation and prop scarring. What effect these stresses have on seagrasses is dependent on both the nature and severity of the particular environmental challenge. Generally, if only leaves and above-ground vegetation are impacted, seagrasses are generally able to recover from damage within a few weeks; however, when damage is done to roots and rhizomes, the ability of the plant to produce new growth is severely impacted, and plants may never be able to recover (Zieman et al. 1984, Fonseca et al. 1988). Some of the major environmental challenges to seagrass health are discussed below.

Anthropogenic Threats

[A more detailed look at some emerging human-induced threats facing the seagrasses of the IRL is available here.]

The health of seagrass communities obviously relies heavily upon the amount of sunlight that penetrates the water column to reach submerged blades. Water clarity, heavily affected by the amount and composition of stormwater runoff and other non-point sources of pollution, is the primary influence that determines how much light ultimately reaches seagrass blades. Stormwater runoff drains both urban and agricultural areas, and carries with it household chemicals, oils, automotive chemicals, pesticides, animal wastes, and other debris. Under normal conditions, seagrasses maintain water clarity by trapping silt, dirt, and other sediments suspended in the water column.
These materials are then incorporated into the benthic substratum, where they are stabilized by seagrass roots. However, when sediment loading becomes excessive, turbidity in the water column increases and the penetration of sunlight is inhibited. In extreme cases, excessive sediment loading can actually smother seagrasses.

When heavy volumes of stormwater runoff carrying excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizers and animal wastes drains into canals, and eventually empties into estuaries, it accelerates the growth rate of phytoplankton. Under normal nutrient conditions, microalgae grow at manageable levels, and are an important food source for many filter feeding and suspension feeding organisms. However, excess nutrient loading in water bodies causes massive blooms of algae that reduce water clarity by blocking the amount of sunlight available. Reduction in light levels, as well as depletion of the nutrient supply, leads to the death and decomposition of these microalgal blooms. The process of decomposition further degrades water quality by depleting much of the dissolved oxygen available in the water column, sometimes leading to hypoxic conditions and fish kills.

A number of other anthropogenic factors often affect the health of seagrass meadows. Dredging churns up seagrass beds, increasing turbidity and suspended sediments in the water column. This period of poor water quality may be temporary, and have few long-term impacts on seagrasses. However, if dredging affects hydrodynamic properties of the area, such as the depth profile, current direction, or current velocity, seagrasses may be severely threatened. Prop scarring is another factor that threatens seagrasses. Accidental or intentional groundings of boats in shallow areas may lead to significant, localized impacts on seagrasses. Scarring occurs in water that is shallower than the draft of the boat. Boaters entering these shallows often dig up the seagrass beds as they motor, cutting not only the blades, but more catastrophically, slashing underground rhizomes and roots as well. Prop scarring often results in a continuous line of seagrass damage, which acts to fragment the habitat, especially in areas where seagrass coverage is sparse. Seagrasses that remain in fragmented areas are then susceptible to erosion effects and are vulnerable to increased damage as boaters continue to scar the meadow.

Natural Threats

Threats to seagrasses are not limited to anthropogenic factors. There are also a number of natural factors that damage or threaten seagrasses. A wasting disease, thought to be caused by a marine slime mold, caused extensive damage to eelgrass beds (Zostera spp.) in temperate coastal areas during the 1930s, diminishing seagrass coverage by over 90%. Storms can also cause widespread damage to established seagrass meadows, sometimes on a regular basis. Wind-driven waves may break or uproot seagrasses, having minimal effects when leaves and vegetative structures are damaged; and more lasting effects when rhizomes and roots are damaged. In addition, a number of small and large marine animals disturb seagrasses while foraging, including sea urchins and the endangered West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus). Other species, such as crabs, fishes, skates, and rays disturb rhizomes and roots, and can tear apart seagrass leaves as they forage for concealed or buried prey.

Management of Seagrasses

The Indian River Lagoon has approximately 80,000 acres of seagrass coverage at the present time, a decline of approximately 18% overall from seagrass coverage estimated from aerial photos taken during the 1950s. Some areas of the lagoon have experienced alarming declines in seagrass coverage. For example, in the 50 mile stretch of the IRL between the NASA Causeway and Grant, Florida, seagrass coverage has decreased by over 70% in the last 50 years. However, in other areas, seagrasses have maintained their historic coverage levels, or have actually increased. In the area encompassing the protected zones of NASA, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, and Canaveral National Seashore, seagrass coverage has remained unchanged over the last 50 years.
In the central Indian River Lagoon, near Sebastian Inlet, seagrass coverage has increased markedly from historic levels, though much of this increase is due to the opening of the inlet at its present location. As a general rule, seagrass coverage has been observed to remain steady or increase in areas retaining relatively pristine environmental conditions, and has declined in areas heavily impacted by overdevelopment of shoreline areas and wetlands.

St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) are 2 of the organizations charged with managing water quality within the Indian River Lagoon. These organizations have actively pursued the goal of managing the lagoon in order to preserve and restore seagrass coverage to historic levels. Two main focus areas for improving water quality in the lagoon have been addressed: 1) to assist local governments in controlling and managing stormwater runoff; and 2) to purchase, and to the extent possible, restore, fringing wetland areas.

Managing water quality for seagrass health has improved overall water quality within the lagoon; has increased habitat quality and quantity; and over the long-term, is expected to increase biodiversity within seagrass meadows. Enriching biodiversity within the Indian River Lagoon will make large contributions to the economy of the area by enhancing commercial and recreational fisheries stocks, increasing tourism and recreational opportunities, increasing property values, and potentially creating additional jobs. Outreach and education efforts undertaken by SJRWMD and SFWMD have improved public awareness and support of seagrass restoration as an effective management strategy.

Click a highlighted link to read more about individual species:

Species Name Common name Comments

IRL Seagrasses

Thalassia testudinum Turtle grass  
Halophila engelmannii Star grass  
Halophila decipiens Paddle grass  
Halodule beaudettei Shoal grass formerly H. wrightii
Halophila johnsonii Johnson’s seagrass  
Syringodium filiforme Manatee grass  
Ruppia maritima Widgeon grass  

Associated Invertebrates

Abra aequalis Atlantic abra  
Aceteocina atrata none  
Aceteocina canaliculata none  
Aequipecten muscosus rough scallop  
Alpheus armillatus banded snapping shrimp  
Alpheus bouvieri snapping shrimp  
Alpheus cristulifrons snapping shrimp  
Alpheus floridanus snapping shrimp  
Alpheus formosus snapping shrimp  
Alpheus heterochaelis common snapping shrimp  
Alpheus normanni snapping shrimp  
Alpheus nuttingi snapping shrimp  
Alpheus paracinitus snapping shrimp  
Alpheus thomasi snapping shrimp  
Alpheus viridari snapping shrimp  
Amphiodia pulchella none  
Amphioplus thrombodes none  
Anadara brasiliana incongruous ark  
Anadara notabilis eared ark  
Anadara ovalis blood ark  
Anadara transversa transverse ark  
Anodontia alba buttercup lucine  
Anomalocardia auberiana pointed venus  
Anomia simplex common jingle  
Anygdalum papyrium Atlantic papermussel  
Aplysia brasiliana sooty seahare  
Aplysia dactylomela spotted seahare  
Aplysia morio Atlantic black seahare  
Arbacia punctulata purple-spined sea urchin  
Arenicola cristata lugworm  
Argopecten irradians concentricus bay scallop  
Asthenothaerus hemphilli hemphill thracid  
Astyris lunata lunar dovesnail  
Atrina rigida stiff penshell  
Atrina seminuda half-naked penshell  
Barleeia spp. barleysnails  
Barnea truncata Atlantic mud piddock  
Batillaria minima West Indian false cerith  
Bittiolum varium grass cerith  
Boonea impressa impressed odostome  
Brachidontes exustus scorched mussel  
Bulla striata striate bubble  
Bursatella leachii ragged sea hare  
Busycon contrarium none  
Busycon spiratum pyruloides none  
Caecum cooperi none  
Caecum pulchellum beautiful caecum  
Callinectes sapidus blue crab  
Capitella capitata (polychaete)  
Caprella penantis (amphipod)  
Cardiomya gemma precious cardiomya  
Carditamera floridana broad-ribbed carditid  
Cerithidea scalariformis ladder hornsnail  
Cerithiopsis greeni none  
Cerithium atratum dark cerith  
Cerithium litteratum stocky cerith  
Cerithium lutosum variable cerith  
Cerithium muscarum flyspeck cerith  
Chione cancellata cross-barred venus  
Chione grus gray pygmy venus  
Chione intapurpurea lady-in-waiting venus  
Circulus suppressus suppressed vitrinella  
Circulus texanus Texas vitrinella  
Codakia orbicularis tiger lucine  
Codakia orbiculata dwarf tiger lucine  
Corbula contracta contracted corbula  
Corbula spp. corbula  
Costoanachis avara greedy dovesnail  
Costoanachis floridana Florida dovesnail  
Costoanachis sparsa sparse dovesnail  
Crassinella spp. crassinella  
Crassostrea virginica Eastern oyster  
Cratena pilata none  
Crepidula convexa convex slippersnail  
Crepidula fornicata common Atlantic slippersnail  
Crepidula plana Eastern white slippersnail  
Cyclinella tenuis thin cyclinella  
Cyclostremiscus beauii none  
Cymadusa compta (amphipod)  
Cymatium pileare hairy triton  
Cyrtopleura costata angelwing clam  
Diadema antillarum longspine black sea urchin  
Dinocaridium robustum Atlantic giant cockle  
Divaricella quadrisulcata cross-hatched lucine  
Divariscintilla luteocrinita yellow-tentacled galeommatid  
Divariscintilla octotentaculata eight-tentacled galeommatid  
Divariscintilla troglodytes hole-dwelling galeommatid  
Divariscintilla yoyo yoyo galeommatid  
Donax variabilis variable coquina  
Doridella obscura obscure carambe  
Dosinia discus disk dosinia  
Dosinia elegans elegant dosinia  
Echinaster sentus spiny sea star  
Elysia chlorotica eastern emerald elysia  
Elysia serca Caribbean seagrass elysia  
Epitonium rupicola brown-band wentletrap  
Erichsonella attenuata eelgrass isopod  
Eupleura caudata thick-lip drill  
Eupleura sulcidentata sharp-rib drill  
Fasciolaria lilium hunteria banded tulip  
Fasciolaria tulipa true tulip  
Finella dubia none  
Gammarus mucronatus (amphipod)  
Gemma gemma amethyst gemclam  
Gouldia cerina waxy gouldclam  
Grandidierella bonnieroides amphipod  
Granulina ovuliformis teardrop marginella  
Haminoea antillarum Antilles glassy bubble  
Haminoea elegans elegant glassy bubble  
Hargeria rapax (tanaid)  
Henrya morrisoni none  
Henrya morrisoni none  
Hippolyte pleuracantha broken-back shrimp  
Holothuria arenicola burrowing sea cucumber  
Holothuria cubana cuban sea cucumber  
Holothuria grisea gray sea cucumbers  
Hydatina physis brown-line paperbubble  
Hydrobiidae unidentified spp. none  
Ilyanassa obsoleta eastern mudsnail  
Ircinia spp. garlic sponges  
Ischnochiton striolatus none  
Istichopus badionotus four-sided sea cucumber  
Laevicardium laevigatum egg cockle  
Laevicardium mortoni morton eggcockle  
Leptosynapta inhaerens none  
Leptosynapta roseola none  
Leptosynapta tenuis none  
Lima pellucida Antillean fileclam  
Lima spp. fileclams  
Linga amiantus miniature lucine  
Linga pensylvanica pennsylvania lucine  
Lioberus castaneus chestnut mussel  
Lucina nassula woven lucine  
Lucina pectinata thick lucine  
Luidia clathrata gray seastar  
Luidia senegalenis nine-armed sea star  
Lyonsia floridana Florida lyonsia  
Lytechinus variegatus short-spined sea urchin  
Macoma spp. macoma  
Macoma tenta elongate macoma  
Mactra fragilis fragile surfclam  
Meioceras nitidum none  
Melampus bidentatus eastern melampus  
Melanella spp. none  
Melita nitida amphipod  
Melongena sprucecreekensis conch  
Melongena corona crown conch  
Menippe mercenaria Stone crab  
Mercenaria campechiensis southern hard clam  
Mercenaria mercenaria northern hard clam  
Mercenaria mercenaria forma notata northern hard clam  
Mitrella ocellata whitespot dovesnail  
Modiolus modiolus squamosus horsemussel  
Modulus modulus buttonsnail  
Mulinia lateralis dwarf surfclam  
Musculus lateralis lateral mussel  
Mysella planulata plate mysella  
Mysella spp. mysella  
Nassarius acutus sharp nassa  
Nassarius vibex bruised nassa  
Natica livida livid moonsnail  
Natica macrochinensis Morocco moonsnail  
Natica pusilla none  
Neanthes succinea clam worm  
Nerita fulgurans Antillean nerite  
Neritina virginea virgin nerite  
Noetia ponderosa ponderous ark  
Nucula proxima Atlantic nutclam  
Octopus vulgaris common octopus  
Odostomia engonia none  
Oliva sayana lettered olive  
Olivella floralia rice olive  
Amphiodia pulchella none  
Onuphis microcephala parchment worm  
Ophiactis savignyi savigny’s brittle star  
Ophionereis reticulata reticulated brittle star  
Ophiophragmus filograneus (brittlestar)  
Ophiothrix angulata angular brittle star  
Oreaster reticulata cushion star  
Oxynoe antillaum Antilles oxynoe  
Oxynoe azuropunctata Blue-spot oxynoe  
Pagurus bonairensis hermit crabs  
Pagurus brevidactylus short-clawed hermit crab  
Pagurus carolinensis hermit crab  
Pagurus longicarpus long-armed hermit crab  
Pagurus maclaughlinae hermit crab  
Pagurus pollicaris flat-clawed hermit crab  
Palaemontes intermedius grass shrimp  
Palaemonetes pugio daggerblade grass shrimp  
Palaemonetes vulgaris grass shrimp  
Pandora spp. pandora  
Panulirus argus spiny lobster  
Papyridea soleniformis spiny papercockle  
Paracaudina chiliensis obesacauda none  
Parastarte triquetra brown gemclam  
Parvanachis obesa fat dovesnail  
Parvilucina multilineata many-lined lucine  
Pecten ziczac zigzag scallop  
Pectinaria gouldii ice cream cone worm  
Penaeus aztecus Brown shrimp  
Penaeus duorarum pink shrimp  
Penaeus setiferus white shrimp  
Periclimenes americanus cleaning shrimp  
Periclimenes chacei cleaning shrimp  
Periclimenes longicaudatus cleaning shrimp  
Periploma margaritaceum unequal spoonclam  
Petricola pholadiformis false angelwing clam  
Pholas campechiensis Campeche angelwing  
Phyllaplysia smaragda emerald leaf slug  
Phyllonotus pomum apple murex  
Pinctada imbricata Atlantic pearl oyster  
Pinna carnea amber penshell  
Pitar fulminatus lightning pitar  
Pleuroploca gigantea Florida horse conch  
Polinices duplicatus none  
Polycera hummi none  
Prunum apicinum common Atlantic marginella  
Pteria colymbus Atlantic wing oyster  
Pyramidella crenulata none  
Pyrgocythara plicosa plicate mangelia  
Raeta plicatella channeled duckclam  
Rictaxis punctostriatus pitted baby bubble  
Rissoina catesbyana none  
Sayella crosseana none  
Semele proficua Atlantic semele  
Sicyonia dorsalis rock shrimp  
Sicyonia laevigata rock shrimp  
Sinum perspecivum white baby ear  
Siphonaria pectinata striped false limpet  
Smaragdia viridis emerald nerite  
Smaragdia viridis viridemaris emerald nerite  
Solemya occidentalis West Indian awningclam  
Sphenia antillensis antillean sphenia  
Spirorbis spp. (polychaete)  
Stellatoma stellata none  
Streblospio benedicti (polychaete)  
Strombus alatus Florida fighting conch  
Strombus costatus milk conch  
Strombus gigas queen conch  
Strombus raninus hawkwing conch  
Stylocheilus longicauda blue-ring sea hare  
Suturoglypta iontha lineate dovesnail  
Synaptula hydriformis (sea cucumber)  
Tagelus divisus purplish tagelus  
Tagelus plebeius stout tagelus  
Teinostoma biscaynense Biscayne vitrinella  
Tellidora cristata white-crest tellin  
Tellina aequistriata striate tellin  
Tellina aequistriata striate tellin  
Tellina alternata altenate tellin  
Tellina fausta favored tellin  
Tellina laevigata smooth tellin  
Tellina listeri speckled tellin  
Tellina magna great tellin  
Tellina mera pure tellin  
Tellina paramera perfect tellin  
Tellina radiata sunrise tellin  
Tellina tampaensis Tampa tellin  
Tellina versicolor many-colored tellin  
Thais haemastoma floridana Florida rocksnail  
Thor dobkini (shrimp)  
Thor manningi (shrimp)  
Thyonella gemmata green sea cucumber  
Tozeuma carolinense (shrimp)  
Trachycardium egmontianum Florida pricklycokle  
Trachycardium muricatum yellow pricklycockle  
Tricolia affinis pterocladica none  
Triphora nigrocincta black-line triphora  
Tripneustes ventricosus sea egg  
Truncatella pulchella beautiful truncatella  
Turbo castanea chestnut turban  
Turbonilla dalli none  
Turbonilla hemphilli none  
Turbonilla incisa none  
Uca burgersi Burger’s fiddler crab  
Uca phayeri fiddler crab  
Uca pugillator sand fiddler crab  
Uca pugnax rapax mud fiddler crab  
Uca rapax Caribbean fiddler crab  
Uca rapax rapax Caribbean fiddler crab  
Uca speciosa Ive’s fiddler crab  
Uca thayeri Thayer’s fiddler crab  
Urosalpinx cinerea Atlantic oyster drill  
Urosalpinx tampaensis Tampa drill  
Vitrinella floridana Florida vitrinella  
Zebina browniana smooth risso  

Associated Vertebrates

Achirus lineatus lined sole  
Albula vulpes bonefish  
Anchoa cubana Cuban anchovy  
Anchoa hepsetus striped anchovy  
Anchoa lamprotaenia bigeye anchovy  
Anchoa lyolepis dusky anchovy  
Anchoa mitchilli bay anchovy  
Archosargus probatocephalus sheepshead  
Archosargus rhomboidalis sea bream  
Ariopsis felis sea catfish  
Bairdiella chrysoura silver perch  
Balistes capriscus Gray triggerfish  
Brevoortia tyrannus Atlantic menhaden  
Brevoortia smithi yellowfin menhaden  
Caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtle  
Centropomus undecimalis snook  
Chaetodipterus faber spadefish  
Chelonia mydas green sea turtle  
Chilomycterus schoepfii striped burrfish  
Cynoscion arenarius sand seatrout  
Cynoscion nebulosus spotted seatrout  
Cyprinodon variegatus sheepshead minnow  
Dasyatus americana southern stingray  
Dasyatus sabina Atlantic stingray  
Dasyatis sayi bluntnose stingrays  
Diapterus auratus Irish pompano  
Elops saurus ladyfish  
Eucinostomus argentus spotfin mojarra  
Eucinostomus gula silver jenny  
Eucinostomus havana bigeye mojara  
Eucinostomus jonesii slender mojarra  
Eucinostomus lefroyi mottled mojara  
Eucinostomus melanopteus flagfin mojarra  
Floridichthys caprio goldspot killifish  
Fundulus chrysotus golden topminnow  
Fundulus confluentus marsh killifish  
Fundulus grandis Gulf killifish  
Fundulus heteroclitus mummichog  
Fundulus similis longnose killifish  
Gambusia affinis mosquitofish  
Gambusia holbrooki eastern mosquitofish  
Gobionellus boleosoma darter goby  
Gobionellus fasciatus blackbar goby  
Gobionellus oceanicus highfin goby  
Gobionellus pseudofasciatus slashcheek goby  
Gobionelus schufeldti freshwater goby  
Gobionellussmaragdus emerald goby  
Gobionellus stigmaticus marked goby  
Gobionellus stigmaturus spotfin goby  
Gobiosoma macrodon tiger goby  
Gobiosoma bosc naked goby  
Gobiosoma ginsburgi seaboard goby  
Gobiosoma robustrum code goby  
Haemulon album margate  
Haemulon aurolineatum tomtate  
Haemulon carbonarium Caesar grunt  
Haemulon chrysargyreum smallmouth grunt  
Haemulon flavolineatum French grunt  
Haemulon macrostomum Spanish grunt  
Haemulon melanurum cottonwick  
Haemulon plumierii white grunt  
Haemulon sciurus bluestriped grunt  
Haemulon parra sailor’s choice  
Harengula clupeola false pilchard  
Harengula jaguana scaled sardine  
Hippocampus erectus lined seahorse  
Hippocampus reidi longsnout seahorse  
Hippocampus zosterae dwarf seahorse  
Lachnolaimus maximus hogfish  
Lactophyrs polygonia honeycomb trunkfish  
Lactophyrs quadricornis scrawled trunkfish  
Lactophyrs trigonus trunkfish  
Lactophyrs triqueter smooth trunkfish  
Lagodon rhomboides pinfish  
Leostomus xanthurus spot  
Lucania parva rainwater killifish  
Lutjanus analis mutton snapper  
Lutjanus apodus schoolmaster  
Lutjanus cyanopterus cubera snapper  
Lutjanus griseus gray snapper (or mangrove)  
Lutjanus jocu dog snapper  
Lutjanus mahogoni mahogany snapper  
Lutjanus synagris lane snapper  
Megalops atlanticus tarpon  
Membras martinica rough silverside  
Menidia beryllina tidewater silversides  
Menida peninsulae penninsula silverside  
Micropogonias undulatus Atlantic croaker  
Monacanthus hipsidus planehead filefish  
Monacanthus ciliatus fringed filefish  
Mugil cephalus striped mullet  
Mugil curema white mullet  
Mugil curvidens mullet  
Mugil gaimardianus redeye mullet  
Mugil gyrans fantail mullet  
Mugil liza liza  
Oligoplites saurus leatherjacket  
Opisthnema oglinum Atlantic threadfin herring  
Opsanus tao oyster toadfish  
Palaemontes spp. grass shrimp  
Poecilia latipinna sailfin molly  
Pogonias cromis Black drum  
Sardinella aurita Spanish sardine  
Sciaenops ocellatus red drum  
Scomberomerus cavalla king mackerel  
Scomberomerus maculatus Spanish mackerel  
Scorpaena brasilensis barbfish  
Scorpaena dispar hunchback scorpionfish  
Scorpaena grandicornis plumed scorpionfish  
Scorpaena plumieri spotted scorpionfish  
Sparisoma chrysopterum redtail parrotfish  
Sparisoma radians bucktooth parrotfish  
Sparisoma rubripinne redfin parrotfish  
Sphoeroides maculatus northern puffer  
Sphoeroides nephelus southern puffer  
Sphoeroides spengleri bandtail puffer  
Sphoeroides testudineus checkered puffer  
Sphyraena barracuda great barracuda  
Strongylura marina Atlantic needlefish  
Strongylura notata redfin needlefish  
Strongylura timucu Timucu  
Sygnathus floridae dusky pipefish  
Sygnathus louisianae chain pipefish  
Sygnathus scovelli Gulf pipefish  
Tilapia spp. Tilapia  
Trachinotus carolinus Florida pompano  
Trichecus manatus West Indian manatee  
Tursiops trucatus bottlenosed dolphin  


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