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Algae Monitoring at St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

Management activities at St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve have been discontinued as of July 1, 2011. This page describes one of the former ecosystem science programs which will be restarted should revenue streams improve.

The many species of algae within the bay need to be identified. The functional roles of algae within seagrass meadows include:

  • increased habitat complexity,
  • primary production,
  • trophic cycling, and
  • sediment stabilization.

Seagrass communities include many species of algae that can be coarsely grouped:

  • drift algae;
  • rhizophytic algae (e.g. benthic macroalgae, Caulerpa spp.);
  • psammophytic algae (e.g. Acetabularia spp.), and
  • epiphytes.
Algae amongst other bottom organisms

Algae is an important component of many habitats.

Macroalgae may be present in seagrass beds as large clumps of detached drift algae and the factors that control the drift algal distribution and abundance are not fully known. Drift algae have been found to be important contributors to primary production and as important habitat for numerous benthic fish and invertebrate species.

The preserve's monitoring efforts had indicated an increase in the amount of algae in St. Joseph Bay over the last several years. This may be a result of an increase in nutrients in the bay from stormwater runoff. It is important to identify the algae species within the bay and to determine the seasonal dynamics, biomass and productivity of the specific algal groups. The aquatic preserve partnered with the University of Florida's LakeWatch program to do this, and to determine the potential effects that particular species may have on the health of the bay system.

More information on the Algae Monitoring Program at St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve is available in the St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve Management Plan.


Last updated: April 06, 2015

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