Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Long Key Point: KML by Logan Walker and Shelby Sanders

On Tuesday May 23rd, we visited Long Key Point. This is the most southeastern location on Long Key, containing a variety of macroalgae and invertebrates. The weather was considerably sunny with strong winds, which created heavy surface currents. These winds were strong enough to balance out the strength of the opposing current below, while the tides were at its lowest point. The site was dominated by hard corals, which makes a great feeding source of brown algae such as Dictyota, which was very abundant as well. The site was a shallower area like our other visit, Zane Grey Creek, allowing us to see an abundance of juvenile fish such as Stegastes fuscus, Thalassoma bifasciatum, and Anisotremus virginicus. These juveniles thrived because the corals gave plenty of hiding spots for small fish and many invertebrates such as Diadema spp., and Eupolymnia crassicornis, Pseudopterogorgia americana, along with the spiny lobster, Palinuridae spp. In between different types of corals were quite a few loggerhead sponges, Spheciospongia vesparium, along with a few Solenastria bornacia and Siderastria radians. These corals were spotted frequently, classifying them as an abundant species. Adult fish were not as common as juveniles, but some adults spotted included Chaetodon capistratus, Lutjanus griseus, Abudefduf saxatilis, and Bodianus rufus. There were two species of mollusk seen as well, the horse conch and the queen conch, Triplofusus giganteus and Lobatus gigas. There were not any obvious signs of human impact, but overfishing along with active boat pollution and damage to corals from boats were able to be inferred from observations. 

Spheciospongia vespera

Pseudopterogorgia americana

Diadema spp.

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