SEAGRASS SURVEYSJun 23rd, 2013 | Category: AAE Volunteer, MDC News
Seagrass is a vital part of the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem. It provides shelter for small invertebrates and young fish, and is food for many marine creatures including manatees. The root systems of seagrass serve to stabilize the sand and mud on the estuary floor.
The abundance and growth of seagrass in the lagoon serve as important indicators of estuary health. Scientists at the St. Johns River Water Management District have been collecting data regularly on aquatic grass beds throughout the entire Indian River Lagoon, from Canaveral National Seashore down to Jupiter Inlet.
The Marine Discovery Center and AAE volunteers contribute to this important monitoring project by surveying abundance and density of seagrass in 5 sites several times per year. Maps of seagrass in the IRL over time provide important information about changes happening throughout the estuary, whether localized or lagoon-wide.