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Ecosystem Science Programs at Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves

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An expansive geographic area and the challenges posed by protecting natural resources adjacent to the most populous county in the state means that fostering partnerships with other agencies is crucial. The information collected from these agencies forms the basis for the foundation for the ecosystem science program at Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves.

The main partnering agencies are:

  • Miami-Dade County's Environmental Resource Management (DERM)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)
  • Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
  • Biscayne National Park

Epibenthic Sampling

NOAA currently conducts field sampling twice a year in the wet and dry seasons along the shoreline in central to southern Biscayne Bay with the goal of determining what species of fish, crabs and other organisms are living along the bottom of the bay.

Seagrass Monitoring

DERM has two types of seagrass monitoring programs - one for fixed locations and one that uses random sampling. The University of Miami conducts a sampling program that captures video of the bottom and focuses on shallow habitats that would otherwise require many more hours to survey. FWC's program provides information about seasonal variability.

Sediment Sampling

Monitoring of the sediments in Biscayne Bay helps determine proper freshwater input restoration targets, as well as identifying what potential threats there are to the bay's ecology. Studies have provided information on historic salinities in the bay and changes over time as well as heavy metal contaminants and agricultural runoff.

Water Quality Monitoring

Aquatic Preserves staff obtain access to data through established partnerships with agencies that collect and/or fund water quality monitoring programs within Biscayne Bay. However, very little research is done in the northern stretches of Biscayne Bay. There is also a need for more sites close to shore that will better capture the effects of Miami Beach storm drains.

Wildlife Monitoring

There are ongoing efforts in Biscayne Bay to monitor the bay's dolphin population and the nesting efforts of sea turtles. Aquatic Preserves staff are working with Tropical Audubon Society to restart a bird-monitoring project in northern Biscayne Bay.

Last Modified:
February 20, 2024 - 12:14pm

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