Dry Tortugas National Park (DTNP)

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Chapter 3. SITE DESCRIPTION

Flora

Brief description of the main plant assemblages significant or particular in the area:


Plant assemblages are mapped in following vegetation classes as woodlands (3), shrublands (8), scrub (5), dune (20), and sparse (3). The vegetation communities on these islands differ in distribution and commonality. Dune associative communities are the main classes that provide significant cover on four of the seven islands. Complete plant species lists and land cover can be found at http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/sfcn/inventories/DryTortugasVegMap/Project_Report/drtorpt.pdf

List of plant species within the site that are in SPAW Annex I

List of species in SPAW annex I Estimate of population size Comments if any

List of plant species within the site that are in SPAW Annex III

List of species in SPAW annex III Estimate of population size Comments if any
Combretaceae: Conocarpus erectus not given Buttonwood
Compositae : Laguncularia racemosa not given white mangrove
Rhizophoraceae: Rhizophora mangle not given Red mangrove
Verbenaceae: Avicennia germinans not given Black mangrove

List of plant species within the site that are in the IUCN Red List. UICN red list : http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search You will specify the IUCN Status (CR:critically endangered; EN:endangered; VU:vulnerable).

List of species in IUCN red list that are present in your site IUCN Status Estimate of population size Comments if any
Conocarpus: erectus Unknown not given Silver-leaved Buttonwood
Avicennia : germinans Unknown not given Black Mangrove
Laguncularia : racemosa Unknown not given White Mangrove
Rhizophora : mangle Unknown not given Red Mangrove

List of plant species within the site that are in the national list of protected species

List of species in the national list of protected species that are present in your site Estimate of population size Comments if any

Fauna

Brief descript° of the main fauna populations and/or those of particular importance present (resident or migratory) in the area:


Coral Reefs: The coral reef formations of DTNP include bank reefs, high relief and low relief spur and groove, patch reefs, pinnacles, and other morphologies, which taken together provide an ecological suite of highly complex and productive habitats for fish and invertebrates. Various reefs within DTNP contain high densities of live coral cover and massive star coral heads (Montastrea spp.) that are unique to the Dry Tortugas region. Other common coral species include starlet coral (Siderastrea spp.), brain coral (Copophylia natans, Diploria spp.) fire coral (Millepora alcicornis), finger coral (Porites spp.), and lettuce coral (Agaricia agaracites). Additional species occurring in DTNP are listed in the Appendix (Annex II species list to be added).

Seagrass and Algal Communities: Shallow seagrass and algal communities are important components of DTNP and the wider coral reef ecosystem of the Tortugas. Thallasia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme typically abound in shallower waters <10 m (33 ft). Algal communities in the Dry Tortugas tend to be ephemeral and occur on a variety of bottom types. Conspicuous genera include Laurencia, Dictyota, Sargassum, Cladophora, and Padina. Seagrass beds provide habitat and food for important coral reef fishery species, threatened and endangered species, and many other organisms.

Sea Turtles: The shores of the DTNP islands are important nesting habitat and the coral reefs and seagrass beds forage areas for sea turtles. Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are the most common species known to nest and forage in DTNP. Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are less common. Sightings of Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) are very rare, with three nests observed in 2004. (Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) sea turtles are seldom observed in the Tortugas region.) All species are protected under Florida statutes and the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA), and have had their conservation status elevated by inclusion on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Species (www.iucnredlist.org).

The DTNP islands provide critical nesting habitats for five rare seabird species: the Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata), Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus), Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra), Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens), and Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii). DTNP contains the only known rookeries for Brown Noddies, Magnificent Frigate Birds, and Masked Boobies in the continental U.S. Sooty Tern sightings at DRTO have been recorded since 1903 and over 500,000 individuals have been banded there since the early 1950s. The Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) and Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) also nest in DTNP. The National Audubon Society lists DTNP as one of the Important Birding Areas in Florida.

List of animal species within the site that are in SPAW Annex II

List of species in SPAW annex II Estimate of population size Comments if any
Reptiles: Caretta caretta not given Loggerhead
Reptiles: Chelonia mydas not given Green Sea Turtles
Reptiles: Eretmochelys imbricata not given Hawksbill Sea Turtles
Reptiles: Lepidochelys kempii not given Kemp’s Ridley
Reptiles: Dermochelys coriacea not given Leatherback Sea Turtle

List of animal species within the site that are in SPAW Annex III

List of species in SPAW annex III Estimate of population size Comments if any

List of animal species within the site that are in the IUCN Red List. IUCN Red List : http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search You will specify the IUCN Status (CR:critically endangered; EN:endangered; VU:vulnerable).

List of species in IUCN red list that are present in your site IUCN Status Estimate of population size Comments if any
Siderastrea : siderea Unknown not given Lesser Starlet Coral
Millepora : alcicornis Unknown not given Fire Coral
Acropora : humilis Unknown not given Finger Coral
Syringodium : filiforme Unknown not given Manatee Grass, Species code Sf
Caretta : caretta EN - Endangered not given loggerhead
Chelonia : mydas EN - Endangered not given Green Turtle
Eretmochelys : imbricata CR - Critically endangered not given Hawksbill Turtle
Dermochelys : coriacea CR - Critically endangered not given Leatherback
Lepidochelys : kempii CR - Critically endangered not given Kemp's Ridle
Sterna : fuscata Unknown not given Sooty Tern
Anous: stolidus Unknown not given Brown Noddy
Sula : dactylatra Unknown not given Masked Booby
Fregata : magnificens Unknown not given Magnificent Frigatebird
Sterna : dougallii Unknown not given Roseate Tern
Pelecanus : occidentalis Unknown not given Brown Pelican
Acropora : cervicornis CR - Critically endangered not given Staghorn Coral
Acropora : palmata CR - Critically endangered not given Elkhorn Coral
Charadrius : melodus Unknown not given Piping Plover
Pristis : pectinata CR - Critically endangered not given Smalltooth Sawfish

List of animal species within the site that are in the national list of protected species

List of species in the national list of protected species that are present in your site Estimate of population size Comments if any
Sterna : dougallii not given Roseate Tern
Caretta: caretta not given Loggerhead
Chelonia: mydas not given Green Turtle
Acropora : cervicornis not given Staghorn Coral
Acropora : palmata not given Elkhorn Coral
Charadrius: melodus not given Piping Plover
Pristis: pectinata not given Smalltooth Sawfish