Biscayne National Park, located about an hour south of Miami and nearest to Homestead, Florida, preserves Biscayne Bay, offshore barrier reefs, Elliott Key (the first Florida Key), and the northern part of the Florida Reef. Although the park (700 km2or 270.3 mi2) is 95% made up of water, its beaches and swampy shorelines support tropical vegetation and mangroves as well as hundreds of fish species, around 200 bird species, and about 27 mammal species.
Because my background investigation and ID card have not been finalized and, as a result, I have not started my summer project yet, I have had the privilege of getting to know the park and witnessing some of the important projects done, specifically in the Resource Management Division. For example, sea turtle nest surveys of green sea turtles and loggerheads (which are more common) are completed at least once a week on a few main beaches. The biologists here are looking for potential nests, tagging them, and then covering them with wiring to protect the nest and eggs from predators (birds, raccoons, etc). So far, two potential nests have been marked and five false crawls, which is when a mother starts digging and making her nest, but for some reason (vegetation, debris, or unknown) abandons it.
Other important projects include the removal of the invasive and formidable Indo-Pacific lionfish; white-crowned pigeon surveys; and marine debris cleanup.
I’ve included below some photos I took of the park and am excited to see and explore more of Biscayne and South Florida during the next couple of months!