South Florida Information Access - Virtual Tour
Due to proposals by a developer to build on the Biscayne Keys, the area was established as a national monument in 1968. It was designated a national park in 1980. Biscayne National Park consists of mangroves that line the shoreline, the waters of Biscayne Bay, coral reefs and undeveloped key islands. Of the park's 180,000 acres, 95% is underwater.
For more information, please visit the Biscayne National Park website.
Biscayne Bay is an estuary, a place where freshwater and salt water meet. Freshwater flow from the land supplies the bay with nutrients.
The northernmost Florida Keys lie at the eastern edge of Biscayne Bay. Coral reefs lie on the Atlantic side of the islands.
The mangroves that line the shoreline help protect the bay's water by trapping eroding soil and pollutants from the inland.
Early settlers to South Florida regarded mangrove forests as being useless, mosquito-infested, uninhabitable lands. Today, ecologists realize their important role in coastal ecosystems. Mangrove leaves, trunks and branches fall into the water and are transformed into detritus, which is the basis of an elaborate food chain. Mangroves provide protected habitat, breeding grounds and nursery areas to many terrestrial and marine animals. Mangroves also provide shoreline protection from wind, waves and floods.
Lush seagrass beds form grassy undersea meadows throughout Biscayne Bay. Seagrasses are flowering plants that have roots, stems and flowers. They produce oxygen and need clear water that allows the sunlight to reach them.
Related SOFIA Information
Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the Biscayne Bay Area. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/biscaynebay/index.html
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Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (HSH)