Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

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Chapter 3. SITE DESCRIPTION

Flora

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


The Seagrasses and Mangroves of the Keys and surrounding region are highly productive and essential ecological habitats for numerous species that live in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) is the dominant submerged macrophyte in both areal extent and biomass. Manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) and shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) are found where conditions prevent dense turtle grass growth. Manatee grass is prevalent in deep channels on the outer fringes of Florida Bay, while shoal grass is common in shallow waters on banks or adjacent to mangrove islands.

Most islands are fringed by red mangroves, which form a narrow outer border of taller trees at the periphery and exhibit the characteristics of the fringe mangrove forest. A broader zone of black mangroves generally dominates inside the red mangrove fringe.

Numerous species of algae occur on the reefs of the Florida Keys including encrusting red algae of the genera Lithothamnium, Goniolithon, and Peyssonellia. Other plants present include Halimeda opuntia, Bryopsis pennata, Dictyota spp., Udotea conglutiata and Galazura obtusat.

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
Cymodoceaceae: Halodule wrightii not given
Cymodoceaceae: Syringodium filiforme not given
Hydrocharitaceae: Thalassia testudinum not given

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
Thalassia : testudinum Unknown not given Turtle grass
Syringodium : filiforme Unknown not given Manatee grass
Halodule : wrightii Unknown not given Shoal Grass
Goniolithon : alternans Unknown not given

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:


The South Florida and Florida Keys region contains one of North America’s most diverse assemblages of terrestrial, estuarine, and marine fauna. The area has mangrove-fringed shorelines, mangrove islands, seagrass meadows, hardbottom habitats, thousands of patch reefs, and one of the world's largest coral reef tracts, which create one of the most complex ecosystems on Earth that houses thousands of animal species. Bisecting the region is the Florida Keys, which serve as a partial biogeographic barrier between the warm-temperate waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical to subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This division has resulted in a marine ecosystem with fauna components that are found in both the warm-temperate and tropical Caribbean.

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
Gasteropods: Orthalicus reses reses not given Stock Island tree snail
Reptiles: Crocodylus acutus not given American crocodile
Reptiles: Eumeces egregius not given Florida Keys Mole skink
Reptiles: Caretta caretta not given Atlantic loggerhead
Reptiles: Chelonia mydas not given Atlantic green turtle
Reptiles: Eretmochelys imbricata not given Hawksbill turtle
Reptiles: Lepidochelys kempii not given Atlantic ridley turtle
Reptiles: Dermochelys coriacea not given Leatherback turtle
Birds: Mycteria americana not given Wood stork
Birds: Haliaeetus leucocephalus not given Bald eagle
Birds: Sterna antillarum antillarum not given Least tern
Birds: Sterna dougallii dougallii not given Roseate tern
Birds: Vermivora bachmanii not given Bachman's warbler
Birds: Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis not given Cape Sable seaside sparrow
Mammals: Balaenoptera physalus not given Fin whale
Mammals: Balaenoptera borealis not given Sei whale
Mammals: Megaptera novaeangliae not given Humpback whale
Mammals: Eubalaena glacialis not given Right whale
Mammals: Physeter macrocephalus not given Sperm whale
Mammals: Trichechus manatus not given Florida manatee
Mammals: Peromyscus gossypinus allopatica not given Key Largo cotton mouse

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
Crocodylus : acutus VU - Vulnerable not given American Crocodile
Chelonia : mydas EN - Endangered not given Atlantic green turtle Green Turtle
Eretmochelys : imbricta CR - Critically endangered not given Hawksbill turtle
Caretta: Caretta CR - Critically endangered not given Atlantic loggerhead
Lepidochelys: kempii CR - Critically endangered not given Atlantic ridley turtle
Dermochelys : coriacea CR - Critically endangered not given Leatherback turtle
Haliaeetus : leucocephalus Unknown not given Bald Eagle
Pelecanus : occidentalis Unknown not given Brown pelican
Ammodramus : maritimus mirabilis Unknown not given Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow
Sterna : antillarum Unknown not given Least tern
Egretta : caerulea Unknown not given Little Blue Heron
Egretta: tricolor Unknown not given Tricolored Heron Louisiana Heron
Pandion : haliaetus Unknown not given Osprey
Charadrius: melodus Unknown not given Piping plover
Sterna : dougallii Unknown not given Roseate tern
Mycteria : americana Unknown not given Wood stork
Balaenoptera : physalus EN - Endangered not given Fin whale
Megaptera : novaeangliae Unknown not given Humpback Whale
Eubalaena : glacialis EN - Endangered not given North Atlantic Right Whale
Balaenoptera : borealis EN - Endangered not given Sei Whale
Physeter : macrocephalus VU - Vulnerable not given Sperm Whale
Trichechus : manatus VU - Vulnerable not given West Indian Manatee Florida Manatee
Peromyscus : gossypinus allapaticola Unknown not given Key Largo Cotton Mouse
Odocoileus : virginianus clavium Unknown not given White-tailed Deer Key Deer

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