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Free Content Islands in the Bay–A Key Habitat of Florida Bay

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Florida Bay contains 237 muddy islands with areas >100 m2 that comprise 1.73% of the total area. The geographic distribution of islands is uneven; they are least numerous in the western bay (0.76% of total area); most common in the central bay (2.89%) and intermediate in the northeastern bay (1.88%). Principal islands habitats arc: 1) red and black mangrove swamps, 2) algal and halophyte marshes, 3) grass “prairies” and 4) hardwood-buttonwood hammocks. A hierarchical classification of islands consists of islands that contain only habitat 1) mangrove swamps, 1) and 2), 1) through 3), and 1) through 4); these represent a developmental sequence. Islands are dynamic: habitats evolve, sometimes catastrophically, and islands migrate through erosion on more exposed margins and lateral accretion on protected margins. Cores from islands show that some nucleated with transgression of the shoreline and persisted throughout the Holocene flooding of the bay, but others nucleated on mud banks later in the history of the bay. The stratigraphic history of islands bears no obvious relationship to the habitats now present on the islands.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1989

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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