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Using mollusks as indicators of restoration in nearshore zones of south Florida's estuaries

July 6, 2022
Current south Florida ecosystem restoration efforts are focused on restoring more natural freshwater flow through the wetlands and into the estuaries to reestablish natural salinity gradients, particularly in the nearshore zones. Indicator taxa are used to monitor and assess restoration progress and the current suite of biota used for the estuaries in south Florida (Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, and the southwest mangrove riverine system) does not include mollusks. Mollusks make excellent indicators because they are found in all south Florida environments, are relatively stationary in postlarval stages, and, therefore, do not leave a site when conditions change. Their hard shells increase the likelihood of preservation after death, thus, making it possible to assess death assemblages. In addition to these features, many mollusks can be quickly sampled in the field and assessed in the lab, so poor visibility and tidal cycles are not an issue for monitoring surveys. Here we examine 27 years of molluscan data from 887 samples from 640 visits to 167 sites in south Florida's estuaries and present a suite of taxa that could be used as indicators for restoration of the oligohaline to mesohaline (0.5 to 17.9 psu) nearshore zones. Cyrenoida floridana, Hydrobiidae, Polymesoda caroliniana, Crassostrea virginica, and additional taxa are included with suggested sampling strategies.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Using mollusks as indicators of restoration in nearshore zones of south Florida's estuaries
DOI 10.5343/bms.2022.0004
Authors G. Lynn Wingard, Bethany Stackhouse, Andre Daniels
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of Marine Science
Index ID 70238710
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center; Florence Bascom Geoscience Center