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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 wrightii, 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 wrightii. In the Indian River Lagoon, Halodule wrightii 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

Halodule wrightiiShoal Grass
Halophila decipiensCaribbean Seagrass, Paddle Grass
Halophila engelmanniiEngelmann's Seagrass, Star Grass
Halophila johnsoniiJohnson's Seagrass
Ruppia maritimaWidgeon Grass
Syringodium filiformeManatee Grass
Thalassia testudinumTurtle Grass

Associated Invertebrates

Abra aequalisCommon Atlantic Abra
Acteocina atrataBlackback Barrel-bubble
Acteocina canaliculataChanneled Barrel-bubble
Aequipecten muscosusRough scallop
Alpheus armillatusBanded Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus bouvieri
Alpheus cristulifronsDotted Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus floridanusSand Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus formosusStriped Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus heterochaelisBigclaw Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus normanniGreen Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus nuttingi
Alpheus paracrinitusSmoothclaw Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus thomasi
Alpheus viridari
Amphiodia pulchellaBrittlestar
Amphioplus thrombodesBrittlestar
Amygdalum papyriumAtlantic Paper Mussel
Anadara brasilianaIncongruous Ark
Anadara notabilisEared Ark
Anadara ovalisBlood Ark
Anadara transversaTransverse Ark
Anodontia albaButtercup Lucine
Anomalocardia auberianaPointed Venus
Anomia simplexCommon Jingle
Aplysia brasilianaSooty Seahare
Aplysia dactylomelaSpotted Seahare
Aplysia morioAtlantic Black Seahare
Arbacia punctulataBrown Rock Urchin, Common Arbacia, Purple-spined Sea Urchin
Arenicola cristataLugworm, Southern Lugworm
Argopecten irradians concentricusBay Scallop
Asthenothaerus hemphilliHemphill Thracid
Astyris lunataLunar Dovesnail
Atrina rigidaStiff Penshell
Atrina seminudaHalf-naked Penshell
Barleeia spp.
Barnea truncataAtlantic Mud-piddock
Batillaria minimaWest Indian False Cerith
Bittiolum variumGrass Cerith
Boonea impressaImpressed Odostome
Brachidontes exustusScorched Mussel
Bulla striataCommon Atlantic Bubble, Striate Bubble
Bursatella leachiiRagged Sea Hare
Busycon contrariumLightning Whelk
Busycon spiratum pyruloides
Caecum cooperi
Caecum pulchellumBeautiful Caecum
Callinectes sapidusBlue Crab
Capitella capitata
Caprella penantis
Cardiomya gemmaPrecious Cardiomya
Carditamera floridanaBroad-ribbed Carditid
Cerithidea scalariformisLadder Hornsnail
Cerithiopsis greeniGreen's Miniature Cerith
Cerithium atratumDark Cerith
Cerithium litteratumStocky Cerith
Cerithium lutosumVariable Cerith
Cerithium muscarumFlyspeck Cerith
Chione cancellataCross-barred Venus
Chioneryx grus
Circulus suppressusSuppressed Vitrinella
Circulus texanusTexas Vitrinella
Codakia orbicularisTiger Lucine
Codakia orbiculataDwarf Tiger Lucine
Corbula spp.
Corbula contractaContracted Corbula
Costoanachis avaraGreedy Dovesnail
Costoanachis floridanaFlorida Dovesnail
Costoanachis sparsaSparse Dovesnail
Crassinella spp.
Crassostrea virginicaAmerican Oyster, Atlantic Oyster, Common Oyster, Eastern
Oyster, Virginia Oyster
Cratena pilata
Crepidula convexaConvex Slipper Snail
Crepidula fornicataCommon Atlantic Slipper Snail
Crepidula planaEastern White Slipper Shell, Eastern White Slipper Snail
Cyclinella tenuisThin Cyclinella
Cyclostremiscus beauii
Cymadusa compta
Cymatium pileareHairy Triton
Cyrtopleura costataAngel Wing Clam, Angelwing Clam
Diadema antillarumLong-spined Sea Urchin
Dinocardium robustumAtlantic Giant Cockle
Divaricella quadrisulcataCross-hatched Lucine
Divariscintilla luteocrinitaYellow-tentacled Galeommatid
Divariscintilla octotentaculataEight-tentacle Galeommatid
Divariscintilla troglodytesHole-dwelling Galeommatid
Divariscintilla yoyoYoyo Galeommatid
Donax variabilisVariable Coquina
Doridella obscuraObscure Corambe
Dosinia discusDisk Dosinia
Dosinia elegansElegant Dosinia
Echinaster sentusSpiny Sea Star
Elysia chloroticaEmerald Elysia
Elysia sercaCaribbean Seagrass Elysia, Seagrass Elysia
Epitonium rupicolaBrown-band Wentletrap
Erichsonella attenuataEelgrass Isopod
Eupleura caudataThick-lip Drill
Eupleura sulcidentataSharp-rib Drill
Fasciolaria lilium hunteriaBanded Tulip
Fasciolaria tulipaTrue Tulip, Tulip Snail
Finella dubia
Gammarus mucronatus
Gemma gemmaAmethyst Gemclam
Gouldia cerinaWaxy Gouldclam
Grandidierella bonnieroidesAmphipod
Granulina ovuliformisTeardrop Marginella
Haminoea antillarumAntilles Glassy-bubble
Haminoea elegansElegant Glassy-bubble
Hargeria rapax
Henrya morrisoniGastropod
Hippolyte pleuracantha
Holothuria arenicola
Holothuria cubana
Holothuria griseaGray Sea Cucumber
Hydatina physisBubble Snail
Hydrobiidae spp.
Ircinia spp.
Ischnochiton striolatus
Isostichopus badionotusFour-sided Sea Cucumber
Laevicardium laevigatumEgg Cockle
Laevicardium mortoniMorton Egg Cockle
Leptosynapta inhaerens
Leptosynapta roseola
Leptosynapta tenuis
Lima spp.
Lima pellucida
Linga amiantusMiniature Lucine
Linga pensylvanicaPennsylvania Lucine
Lioberus castaneus
Lucina nassulaWoven Lucine
Lucina pectinata
Luidia clathrataGray Sea Star, Grey Sea Star
Luidia senegalensisNine-arm Sea Star, Nine-armed Sea Star
Lyonsia floridanaFlorida Lyonsia
Lytechinus variegatusGreen Sea Urchin
Macoma spp.
Macoma tentaElongate Macoma
Mactra fragilisFragile Surfclam
Meioceras nitidumLittle Horn Caecum
Melampus bidentatusEastern Melampus
Melanella spp.
Melita nitida
Melongena coronaCrown Conch
Melongena sprucecreekensis
Menippe mercenariaFlorida Stone Crab, Stone Crab
Mercenaria campechiensisSouthern Hard Clam, Southern Quahog
Mercenaria mercenariaCherrystone, Hard Clam, Littleneck, Northern Quahog
Mercenaria mercenaria f. notata
Mitrella ocellataWhite-spot Dovesnail
Modiolus modiolus squamosus
Modulus modulusButtonsnail
Mulinia lateralisCoot Clam, Dwarf Surf Clam, Dwarf Surfclam
Musculus lateralisLateral Mussel
Mysella spp.
Mysella planulataPlate Mysella
Nassarius acutusSharp Nassa
Nassarius vibexBruised Nassa
Natica lividaLivid Moonsnail
Natica marochiensisMorocco Moonsnail
Natica pusilla
Neanthes succineaClam Worm, Pileworm, Ragworm
Nerita fulguransAntillean Nerite, Lightning Nerite
Neritina virgineaVirgin Nerite
Noetia ponderosaPonderous Ark
Nucula proximaAtlantic Nutclam
Octopus vulgarisCommon Octopus
Odostomia engoniaGastropod
Oliva sayanaLettered Olive
Olivella floraliaRice Olive
Onuphis microcephala
Ophiactis savignyiSavigny's Brittlestar
Ophionereis reticulataReticulated Brittle Star
Ophiophragmus filograneus
Ophiothrix angulataAngular Brittle Star, Angular Brittlestar
Oreaster reticulatusCushion Star, Cushioned Star
Oxynoe antillarumAntilles Oxynoe
Oxynoe azuropunctataBlue-spot Oxynoe
Pagurus bonairensis
Pagurus brevidactylus
Pagurus carolinensis
Pagurus longicarpusLong-armed Hermit Crab, Longwrist Hermit
Pagurus maclaughlinae
Pagurus pollicarisFlatclaw Hermit
Palaemonetes intermediusBrackish Grass Shrimp
Palaemonetes pugioDaggerblade Grass Shrimp
Palaemonetes vulgarisCommon Grass Shrimp
Pandora spp.
Panulirus argusCaribbean Spiny Lobster, Florida Lobster, Rock Lobster,
Spiny Lobster
Papyridea soleniformisSpiny Papercockle
Paracaudina chilensis obesacauda
Parastarte triquetraBrown gemclam
Parvanachis obesaFat Dovesnail
Parvilucina multilineataMany-lined Lucine
Pecten ziczacZigzag Scallop
Pectinaria gouldiiIce Cream Cone Worm, Trumpet Worm
Penaeus aztecusBrown Shrimp
Penaeus duorarumNorthern Pink Shrimp, Pink Shrimp
Penaeus setiferusNorthern White Shrimp, White Shrimp
Periclimenes americanusAmerican Grass Shrimp
Periclimenes chacei
Periclimenes longicaudatusLongtail Grass Shrimp
Periploma margaritaceumUnequal Spoonclam
Petricolaria pholadiformisFlase Angelwing
Pholas campechiensisLampeche Angelwing
Phyllaplysia smaragdaEmerald Leafslug
Phyllonotus pomumApple Murex
Pinctada imbricataAtlantic Pearl-oyster
Pinna carneaAmber Penshell
Pitar fulminatusLightening Pitar
Pleuroploca giganteaHorse Conch
Polinices duplicatusShark Eye
Polycera hummi
Prunum apicinumCommon Atlantic Marginella
Pteria colymbusAtlantic Wing-oyster
Puberella intapurpureaLady-in-waiting Venus
Pyramidella crenulata
Pyrgocythara plicosaPlicate Mangelia
Raeta plicatellaChanneled Duckclam
Rictaxis punctostriatusPitted Baby-bubble
Rissoina catesbyana
Sayella crosseanaGastropod
Semele proficuaAtlantic Semele
Sicyonia dorsalisLesser Rock Shrimp
Sicyonia laevigataRock Shrimp
Sinum perspectivumWhite Baby Ear
Siphonaria pectinataStriped False Limpet
Smaragdia viridisEmerald Nerite
Smaragdia viridis viridemarisEmerald Nerite
Solemya occidentalisWest Indian Awningclam
Sphenia antillensisAntillean Sphenia
Spirorbis spp.Serpulid worm
Stellatoma stellataGastropod
Stramonita haemastoma
Streblospio benedicti
Strombus alatusFlorida Fighting Conch
Strombus costatusMilk Conch
Strombus gigas
Strombus raninusHawkwing Conch
Stylocheilus longicaudaBlue-ring Seahare
Suturoglypta ionthaLineate Dovesnail
Synaptula hydriformis
Tagelus divisusPurplish Tagelus
Tagelus plebeiusStout Tagelus
Teinostoma biscaynenseBiscayne Vitrinella
Tellidora cristataWhite-crest Tellin
Tellina aequistriataStriate Tellin
Tellina alternataAlternate Tellin
Tellina faustaFavored Tellin
Tellina laevigataSmooth Tellin
Tellina listeriSpeckled Tellin
Tellina magnaGreat Tellin
Tellina meraPure Tellin
Tellina parameraPerfect Tellin
Tellina radiataSunrise Tellin
Tellina tampaensisTampa Tellin
Tellina versicolorMany-colored Tellin
Thor dobkiniSquat Grass Shrimp
Thor manningiManning Grass Shrimp
Thyonella gemmataGreen Sea Cucumber, Striped Sea Cucumber
Tozeuma carolinenseArrow Shrimp
Trachycardium egmontianumFlorida Pricklycockle
Trachycardium muricatumYellow Pricklycockle
Tricolia affinis pterocladica
Triphora nigrocinctaBlack-line Triphora
Tripneustes ventricosusSea Egg
Tritia obsoletaEastern mudsnail
Truncatella pulchellaBeautiful Truncatella
Turbo castaneaChestnut Turban
Turbonilla dalli
Turbonilla hemphilli
Turbonilla incisa
Uca burgersiSaltpan Fiddler
Uca pugilator
Uca pugnaxAtlantic Marsh Fiddler
Uca rapax
Uca speciosaLongfinger Fiddler
Uca thayeri
Urosalpinx cinereaAmerican Tingle, American Whelk Tingle, Atlantic Oyster
Drill
Urosalpinx tampaensisTampa Drill
Vitrinella floridanaFlorida Vitrinella
Zebina brownianaSmooth Risso

Associated Vertebrates

Achirus lineatusLined Sole
Albula vulpesBonefish
Anchoa cubanaCuban Anchovy
Anchoa hepsetusStriped Anchovy
Anchoa lamprotaeniaBigeye Anchovy
Anchoa lyolepisDusky Anchovy
Anchoa mitchilliBay Anchovy
Archosargus probatocephalusConvict Fish, Sheepshead, Sheepshead Bream, Sheepshead
Porgie
Archosargus rhomboidalisSea Bream
Ariopsis felisHardhead Catfish, Hardhead Sea Catfish, Sea Catfish
Bairdiella chrysouraSilver Perch
Balistes capriscusGray Triggerfish
Brevoortia smithiYellowfin Menhaden
Brevoortia tyrannusAtlantic Menhaden
Caretta carettaLoggerhead Sea Turtle
Centropomus undecimalisCommon Snook, Robalo, Thin Snook
Chaetodipterus faberAtlantic Spadefish
Chelonia mydasGreen Sea Turtle
Chilomycterus schoepfiiStriped Burrfish
Ctenogobius fasciatusBlackbar Goby
Ctenogobius pseudofasciatusSlashcheek Goby
Ctenogobius shufeldtiFreshwater Goby
Ctenogobius stigmaticusMarked Goby
Ctenogobius stigmaturusSpottail Goby
Cynoscion arenariusSand seatrout
Cynoscion nebulosusSpotted Seatrout
Cyprinodon variegatusSheepshead Minnow
Dasyatis americanaSouthern Stingray
Dasyatis sabinaAtlantic Stingray
Dasyatis sayBluntnose Stingray
Diapterus auratusIrish Pompano
Elops saurusLadyfish
Eucinostomus argenteusSilver Mojarra, Spotfin Mojarra
Eucinostomus gulaSilver Jenny
Eucinostomus havanaBigeye Mojarra
Eucinostomus jonesiiSlender Mojarra
Eucinostomus lefroyiMottled Mojarra
Eucinostomus melanopterusFlagfin Mojarra
Floridichthys carpioGoldspotted Killifish, Ocellated Killifish
Fundulus chrysotusGolden Topminnow
Fundulus confluentusMarsh Killifish
Fundulus grandisGulf Killifish
Fundulus heteroclitusMummichog
Fundulus similisLongnose Killifish
Gambusia affinisMosquitofish, Western Mosquitofish
Gambusia holbrookiEastern Mosquitofish
Gobionellus boleosoma
Gobionellus oceanicusHighfin goby
Gobionellus smaragdusEmerald goby
Gobiosoma boscNaked Goby
Gobiosoma ginsburgiSeaboard Goby
Gobiosoma macrodonTiger goby
Gobiosoma robustumCode Goby
Haemulon albumWhite Margate
Haemulon aurolineatumTomtate
Haemulon carbonariumCeasar Grunt
Haemulon chrysargyreumSmallmouth Grunt
Haemulon flavolineatumFrench Grunt
Haemulon macrostomumSpanish Grunt
Haemulon melanurumCottonwick
Haemulon parraSailor's Choice
Haemulon plumieriiChac-chí, Ronco Arará, White Grunt
Haemulon sciurusBluestriped Grunt
Harengula clupeolaFalse Herring, False Pilchard
Harengula jaguanaScaled Sardine
Hippocampus erectusCaballito De Mar, Hippocampe Rayé, Lined Seahorse,
Northern Seahorse, Spotted Seahorse
Hippocampus reidiLongsnout Seahorse
Hippocampus zosteraeDwarf Seahorse, Pygmy Seahorse
Lachnolaimus maximusHogfish
Lactophrys polygoniaHoneycomb Cowfish
Lactophrys quadricornisScrawled Cowfish
Lactophrys trigonusBuffalo Trunkfish
Lactophrys triqueterSmooth Trunkfish
Lagodon rhomboidesPinfish
Leiostomus xanthurusChub, Flat Croaker, Golden Croaker, Goody, Jimmy, Roach,
Silver Gudgeon, Spot, Spot Croaker
Lucania parvaRainwater Killifish
Lutjanus analisKing Snapper, Mutton Fish, Mutton Snapper
Lutjanus apodusSchoolmaster, Schoolmaster Snapper
Lutjanus cyanopterusCubera Snapper
Lutjanus griseusBlack Snapper, Gray Snapper, Lowyer, Mango Snapper, Mangrove
Snapper
Lutjanus jocuDog Snapper
Lutjanus mahogoniMahogany Snapper
Lutjanus synagrisCandy Striper, Lane Snapper, Rainbow Snapper
Megalops atlanticusTarpon
Membras martinicaRough Silverside
Menidia beryllinaTidewater Silverside
Menidia peninsulaePenninsula Silverside
Micropogonias undulatusAtlantic Croaker
Monacanthus ciliatusFringed Filefish
Monacanthus hispidusPlanehead Filefish
Mugil cephalusBlack Mullet, Flathead Mullet, Gray Mullet, Sea Mullet,
Striped Mullet
Mugil curemaSilver Mullet, White Mullet
Mugil curvidensMullet
Mugil gaimardianusRedeye Mullet
Mugil gyransFantail Mullet
Mugil lizaLiza
Oligoplites saurusLeatherjacket
Opisthonema oglinumAtlantic Thread Herring
Opsanus taoOyster Toadfish
Palaemonetes spp.Grass shrimp
Poecilia latipinnaSailfin Molly, Topote Velo Negro
Pogonias cromisBlack Drum, Corvina Negra, Tambor Negro
Sardinella auritaRound Sardinella, Spanish Sardine
Sciaenops ocellatusCorvineta Ocelada, Red Drum
Scomberomorus cavallaCarite Lucio, Carito, King Mackerel, Sierra, Thazard Serra
Scomberomorus maculatusAtlantic Spanish Mackerel, Carite Atlántico, Serrucho,
Sierra Común, Spanish Mackerel, Thazard Atlantique
Scorpaena brasiliensisBarbfish
Scorpaena disparHunchback Scorpionfish
Scorpaena grandicornisPlumed Scorpionfish
Scorpaena plumieriSpotted Scorpionfish
Sparisoma chrysopterumRedtail Parrotfish
Sparisoma radiansBucktooth Parrotfish
Sparisoma rubripinneRedfin Parrotfish
Sphoeroides maculatusNorthern Puffer
Sphoeroides nephelusBotete Fruta, Southern Puffer, Tamboril Sureño
Sphoeroides spengleriBandtail Puffer
Sphoeroides testudineusBotete Sapo, Checkered Puffer, Tamboríl Rayado
Sphyraena barracudaBarracuda, Great Barracuda, Picúa
Strongylura marinaAgujón Verde, Atlantic Needlefish, Silver Gar
Strongylura notata
Strongylura timucuTimucu
Syngnathus floridaeDusky Pipefish
Syngnathus louisianaeChain Pipefish, Pez Pipa Cadena
Syngnathus scovelliGulf Pipefish, Pez Pipa Del Golfo
Tilapia spp.Tilapia
Trachinotus carolinusFlorida Pompano, Palorneta Común, Pámpano Amarillo
Trichechus manatusFlorida manatee
Tursiops truncatusBottlenose Dolphin, Bottlenosed Dolphin, Common Bottlenose
Dolphin, Delfín Tonina

FURTHER READING

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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:
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J. Morris and R. Hamman, eds., E.S.P. Publ. #38, Omnipress, Madison, WI, pp.
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