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Ten Thousand Islands and Rookery Bay

| 10,000 Islands | Rookery Bay |

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) is located south of Naples, off of SR 951. The Reserve's 110,000 acres, located at the northern end of Ten Thousand Islands, are managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The RBNERR is in the process of constructing a 16,000 sq. ft. learning center, expected to be open in the spring of 2003.

The RBNERR contains educational and research facilities and is home to one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. Estuaries are areas where saltwater and freshwater meet. Detritus from the land and plankton from the sea form a soup rich in microscopic animals, insects and fish, which provides food for animals further up the food chain. For more information about the Reserve, please visit the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve website.

The Conservancy and the National Audubon Society have holdings within the core boundary (approximately 3,000 acres) of the RBNERR. The Conservancy's Briggs Nature Center found within the Reserve contains hands-on exhibits about flora and fauna and is the starting point for a half-mile boardwalk through a variety of natural communities including pinelands, oak scrub and mangrove forests.

Take a walk with us along the 1/2-mile boardwalk behind The Conservancy's Briggs Nature Center.

A photo gallery is available for this page. [Photos taken December, 1999]

Welcome to Rookery Bay

IPIX - Oak Scrub Community  
Navigate around this 360° view of an oak scrub community behind The Briggs Nature Center. Many oak species occur within this dry oak scrub community. The understory is predominantly saw palmetto and other plants adapted to low availability of water.

Navigate around this 360° view of the oak scrub community behind Briggs Nature Center.

  IPIX image of oak scrub community
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

Armadillo
photo of armadillo hidden in vegetation
[larger image]
Can you spot the armadillo tail in the pine flatwoods understory?

Originally native to South America, armadillos have migrated to most parts of Florida. These armored mammals are normally nocturnal and they mostly eat insects.

IPIX - Wet Hammock Community  
Stand on the boardwalk and take a look around. The hammock hosts a variety of plant-life. You will see a cluster of ferns as you turn to the right . A cluster of saw palmettos can be seen in the understory on the opposite side of the boardwalk.

Navigate around this 360° view of a wet hammock community at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

  IPIX image of wet hammock community
Note: You will need the free IPIX viewer to view this 360° image  

Brackish Pond Community
Looking from an observation deck onto a flock of birds resting in a brackish (somewhat salty) pond community. Mangrove islands grow inside and along the edges of the pond.

Mangroves trap mud, leaves and other debris among their roots and trunks. This mixture becomes food for many animals including microscopic organisms, young fish and shrimp.

photo of brackish pond community
[larger image]

American Beauty Berry Shrub
photo of American beauty berry shrub
[larger image]
At the end of the boardwalk behind the Briggs Nature Center, clusters of magenta fruits surround the stems of this American beauty berry shrub. The beauty berry can grow to 8 feet tall. Many birds eat its fruits. Beauty berry is commonly found in cleared areas and in pinelands throughout Florida.

Can you guess how this shrub received its common name?


Related SOFIA Information

Below we have listed science projects and publications for studies that are being conducted, or have been conducted, in the Ten Thousand Islands and Rookery Bay Areas. Follow these links to read about each project and to see project-related publications and data.

Science Projects:

Related Publications:

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /virtual_tour/tirb/indexrookery.html
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Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (HSH)