hdr_home (36K)
  HOME COLLECTION EDUCATION IMAGE GALLERY SOUTH FLORIDA ORGANIZATIONS MEETINGS STAFF
  SHARK TROPICAL
RESEARCH
FRESHWATER
RESEARCH
BIOLOGICAL
PROFILES
JUST FOR KIDS SITE LINKS FLMNH

South Florida Aquatic Environments

Estuarine and Marine Waters



NATIVE FLORA
Caulerpa verticillata
© John Huisman

</i>Caulerpa verticillata</i>


Estuarine and Marine Waters:

Native Flora

  • Flora changes from macroalgae in fresh and brackish waters to seagrass and mangroves as salinity increases
The freshwater habitats of the Everglades are dominated by marsh and slough flora, however the flora changes moving downstream where the freshwater mixes with seawater. Transitional macroalgae species including Chara hornemanni and Batophora oerstedi are common, preferring salinities from 0-10 parts per thousand (ppt).

Shoal Grass
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Shoal Grass

Widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) also prefers waters of low salinities. As salinities increase, Acetabularia crenulata, Caulerpa verticillata, and Udotea wilsoni become the dominant macroalgae along with shoal grass replacing widgeon grass. Mangrove forests and islands are also common along the shoreline and just offshore in estuarine waters.

Mangroves in Florida Bay Estuary
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Mangroves - Florida Bay

Past the intertidal zone, turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) becomes the dominant seagrass, forming extensive meadows that provide habitat and shelter for a diversity of marine organisms.




Turtle Grass
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Turtle Grass