30 May Biscayne National Park First Impressions
Hello! Welcome to my first blog!
My name is Veronica Guevara and this summer I am a Mosaics in Science intern at Biscayne National Park in Florida! Even though I am a Miami local, I am originally from Cuba, and I have also lived all around, including the Galapagos Islands. I am an undergraduate student at the University of Miami studying Ecosystem Science and Policy and specializing in Geography and Marine Policy. At Biscayne National Park, I will be helping the Natural Resource Management Team (Fish and Wildlife Monitoring Program Team) by working and helping in activities that relate to the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) done by the park and FWC. Between these activities are creel survey and data entry, sea turtle nesting surveys and data entry, water quality equipment installment, debris (trash, crab, and lobster traps) collection and count, mooring buoy surveys to identify number of use and state, replacement and placement of buoys that restrict and limit activities within the park. This will help improve the conservation policies and fishing regulations within the park described in the Fisheries Management Plan.
LIVING IN A 3-DIMENSIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR THE NEXT 3 MONTHS
Biscayne National Park is one of the largest marine parks in the National Park System. There is only one mile of paved rode with the rest (95%) being water. The 173,000 acres of water are composed of four different marine ecosystems, which includes shoreline mangrove swamps, shallow estuarine system with diverse bottom communities such as seagrasses, keys that are made of coral limestone, and the offshore Florida reef (northern areas) which is part of the third largest coral reef system in the world. Biscayne Bay has been and is a hot spot for commercial and recreational fishers. Due to unsustainable practices directly associated with fishing (overfishing, methods), and indirect practices associated with agriculture and urbanism, the bay has suffered a decrease in biodiversity. This is why the FWC and NPS decided to work together to create a plan called the Fisheries Management Plan with the help of other stakeholders and the public (direct users) to create better conservation policies and regulations to maintain the health of the bay and improve its resilience.
2-D AND 3-D ENVIRONMENTS COMING TOGETHER
The mangrove ecosystems at Biscayne National Park is what has impacted me the most so far. Being a Miami local, aware of the increase in urbanism in the last decade because of overpopulation, I was fascinated with the amount of mangroves I have seen in the park in comparison with how little I see everywhere else. Along the shoreline, in the limestone keys inside the park, they are everywhere and could be confused as forests. This is why we call them ‘mangrove forests’. There are three different kinds of mangroves: red, black, and white with specific. Each has unique characteristics, but one that I like the most is the way the red mangrove reproduces. Once the mangrove germinates, the seed falls into the water and drifts looking for the perfect place to grow. Mangroves help us in immeasurable ways such as by keeping the water in the park clean. Their impenetrable root structures alleviate storm surges by blocking wave movement. The leaves that fall from them are food to marine organisms and also help storage Carbon Dioxide in the ocean. Mangroves are also nurseries to a host of different marine organisms, and nesting and breeding areas for birds. These characteristics makes them the perfect intersection between land and ocean or the 2-D and 3-D environments.