Free Content Ecological Studies of the Southeastern Florida Patch Reefs.

Part I. Diurnal and Seasonal Changes in the Environment

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Abstract:

Four stations of nearly three days duration each were undertaken during August and November, 1961, and March and May, 1962, to determine the characteristics of the shallow patch reef environment in southeastern Florida. Hourly sampling of several physical and chemical features were compared with meteorological observations obtained from a shore location 13 miles away. Primary productivity of the patch reef and turtle grass community was investigated.

Water temperature varied approximately 0.5° to 1.5°C diurnally, generally in response to air temperature fluctuations and solar radiation. Salinity was relatively stable at 37 parts per thousand, modified slightly by precipitation and evaporation. Dissolved oxygen concentration fluctuated between 90 and 125 per cent saturation daily. The pH, if the data are reliable, varied between 7.6 and 8.2. Plant nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) were extremely deficient throughout the year. Current velocity and direction appeared to be controlled almost entirely by the wind, which was under the influence of the atmospheric pressure gradient. Incident illumination conformed to the normal diurnal pattern only slightly modified by cloud cover. Extinction coefficients ranged between 0.00 and 0.14. Primary productivity of the community was about 1.9 g C/m2/day in August and May and 0.9 g C/m2/day in November and March, due to the influence of the benthic flora, while phytoplankton contributed very little.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1963

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