Seagrass Habitats

     

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.

NaturalThreats:
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

 

FURTHER READING:

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     Utilities Commission Indian River Plant, Volume II, Part I: Biological studies. Applied
     Biology, Inc., Atlanta, GA and Ray L. Lyerly & Assoc., Dunedin, FL.  272 pp.

Aspden, William Clarkson. 1980. Aspects of photosynthetic carbon metabolism in
     seagrasses. Master's Thesis, Fla. Inst. of Tech., Melbourne, FL.  75 pp.

Barile, Diane D. 1986. The Indian River Lagoon - seventy years of cumulative impacts. In:
     Proceedings Of The Conference: Managing Cumulative Effects In Florida Wetlands,
     Oct 17-19, 1985, New College of Univ. S. Fla., Sarasota, FL, E.D. Esteves, J. Miller,
     J. Morris and R. Hamman, eds., E.S.P. Publ. #38, Omnipress, Madison, WI, pp.
     193-218.

Barile, Diane D., Christine A. Panico, Mary Beth Corrigan and Michael Dombrowski.
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     Proceedings Of The Fifth Symposium On Coastal And Ocean Management, Volume 3,
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Brevard County, Florida. Office of Natural Resources Management. 1986. Seagrass maps
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Brevard County, Florida. Water Resources Department. 1981. Review and update of the
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Carroll, Joseph D., Jr. 1983. Letter to District Engineer, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers,
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Clark, K. B. 1975. Benthic community structure and function. In: an ecological study of the
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Report by:  K. Hill, Smithsonian Marine Station
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