National Park Service

South Florida/Caribbean I&M Network (SFCN)

Marine: Communities & Wildlife Monitoring

Squirrelfish over boulder star coral, Tektite Reef, Virgin Islands National Park. Picture taken before massive coral dieoff in 2005
Squirrelfish over boulder star coral, Tektite Reef, Virgin Islands National Park. Picture taken before massive coral dieoff in 2005.

Marine resources make up a major portion of the South Florida / Caribbean Network (SFCN) parks and are a prominent feature in many of the park enabling legislations. SFCN is monitoring Coral Reef Communities in five parks and reported the catastrophic losses in coral cover due the bleaching/disease event in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2005. SFCN is participating in the multi-agency Marine Fish Communities monitoring occurring in the South Florida and U.S. Virgin Islands parks and funded the writing of joint multi-agency protocols that meet National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program requirements. SFCN plans to supplement the Seagrass Communities monitoring occurring by partners in Biscayne and Florida Bays with monitoring in the other parks and offshore along the reef tracts. Some parks are already monitoring Exploited Invertebrates (i.e., lobster) and SFCN plans to develop a lobster protocol for the other parks. Currently SFCN has insufficient funding for monitoring other Exploited Invertebrates (e.g., crabs, oysters) and Focal Fish Species (e.g., sharks, goliath grouper, spotted sea trout, and snook) and is linking to partner monitoring or regional stock assessments where available. Monitoring of Infaunal Communities (clams, worms, small crustaceans), while important as a water quality indicator, is deferred due to insufficient funding.

Individual vital signs in this category are also listed in the table below.

Vital Signs Monitored by the SFCN and Our Partners

Vital Signs Category Monitored by SFCN
and Partners
Monitored by Partners Only and/or Deferred**
Marine: Communities & Wildlife

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