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Seagrass Monitoring Project (WQMP)
The general objective of seagrass monitoring in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) is to measure the status and trends of seagrass communities to evaluate progress toward protecting and restoring the living marine resources of the Sanctuary. The scope and depth of this monitoring effort are without precedent or peer for seagrass ecosystems throughout the world. Specific objectives are: 1) To provide data needed to make unbiased, statistically rigorous statements about the status and temporal trends of seagrass communities in the Sanctuary as a whole and within defined strata; 2) To help define reference conditions in order to develop resource-based water quality standards; and 3) To provide a framework for testing hypothesized pollutant fate/effect relationships through process-oriented research and monitoring. In order to meet these objectives, we have developed these goals for the project:

  • Define the present distribution of seagrasses within the FKNMS
  • Provide high-quality, quantitative data on the status of the seagrasses within the FKNMS
  • Quantify the importance of seagrass primary production in the FKNMS
  • Define the baseline conditions for the seagrass communities
  • Determine relationships between water quality and seagrass status
  • Detect trends in the distribution and status of the seagrass communities
To reach these goals, four kinds of data are being collected in seagrass beds in the FKNMS:

  • Distribution and abundance of seagrasses using rapid assessment Braun-Blanquet surveys
  • Demographics of the seagrass communities using leaf-scar counting and population demographics techniques
  • Seagrass productivity of the dominant species of seagrass in the FKNMS (Thalassia testudinum) using the leaf-mark and harvest method
  • Seagrass nutrient availability using tissue concentration assays
These data are being collected at three different types of sites within the FKNMS:
  • Level 1 Stations: Sampled quarterly for seagrass abundance, demographics, productivity and nutrient availability. These stations are all co-located with the water quality monitoring project's stations
  • Level 2 Stations: Randomly selected locations within the FKNMS, sampled annually for seagrass abundance, demographics and nutrient availability. Each year, new locations for Level 2 stations are chosen.
  • Level 3 Stations: Randomly selected locations within the FKNMS, sampled annually for seagrass abundance. Each year, new locations for Level 3 stations are chosen.
We are assessing both inter-annual and intra-annual trends in seagrass communities. The mix of site types is intended to monitor trends through quarterly sampling at a few permanent locations (Level 1 sites) and to annually characterize the broader seagrass population through less intensive, one-time sampling at more locations (Level 2 and 3 sites).
Adobe Reader is needed to view the PDF reports below. For a free copy of Adobe Reader, click on the icon at the bottom of the page.

NOTE: The format of the annual reports have changed from PDF to HTML, back to PDF throughout the years.

2008 Executive Summary (PDF, 252 KB)
2005 Executive Summary (HTML)
2003 Executive Summary (HTML)
2002 Executive Summary (HTML)
2001 Executive Summary (HTML)
2000 Executive Summary (HTML)
1999 Annual Report (PDF, 1.64 MB)
1998 Annual Report (PDF, 1.46 MB)
1997 Annual Report (PDF, 2.97 MB)

Seagrass Data (Raw) from PI:
2013 and portion 2014 Seagrass (Excel, 192 KB)
2012 and portion 2013 Seagrass (Excel, 182 KB)
Remainder of 2011 Seagrass (Excel, 112 KB)
2010 and portion 2011 Seagrass (Excel, 125 KB)
2009 and portion 2010 Seagrass (Excel, 34 KB)
Permanent Sampling Sites: 1995-2009 (Excel, 331 KB)
Seasonal and SW Shelf Sampling Sites:1996-2004 (Excel, 382 KB)

Last Received Metadata:
Seagrass Monitoring in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - January, 2010

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Seagrass Monitoring
on the Web:
FIU/SERC Water Quality Monitoring Network

SERC (Southeast Environmental Research Center) Water Quality Monitoring Network

SGMP Contact:
Dr. James W. Fourqurean.
Project Manager
Phone: (305) 348-4084

Southeast Environmental
   Research Center
Department of Biology
Florida International
Miami, Florida 33199
Archived Reports:
Searchable PDF files