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Reef fishes of the Florida Keys

By:
, , and
Edited by:
Edward T. LaRoe, Gaye S. Farris, Catherine E. Puckett, Peter D. Doran, and Michael J. Mac

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Abstract

The Florida Keys are a chain of islands extending 320 km (199 mi) along the southern edge of the Florida Plateau from Biscayne Bay to the Dry Tortugas (101 km [63 mi] west of Key West). The Florida Reef Tract, a band of living coral reefs paralleling the Keys, extends from Fowey Rocks to the Marquesas and includes about 130 km (81 mi) of bank reefs and 6,000 patch reefs. For convenience, the Keys can be divided into the upper, middle, and lower Keys (Fig. 1).

The environmental and economic importance of the Florida Keys is indicated by the many protected or regulated areas, which include several national wildlife refuges, national parks, marine sanctuaries, and state-protected areas (Fig. 1). Because many recreational and commercial activities occur in nearshore habitats, these areas have high potential for environmental damage.

Relatively high rates of human population increase (28%-44%) are predicted over the next 20 years in some parts of the Keys; Monroe County, which includes all of the Keys, had a population growth of 160% during the past 40 years. Human activities associated with increased population growth may well ultimately disrupt the Florida Keys marine ecosystem and damage the area's overall economy. In recognition of this possibility, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1990 under the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, U.S. Public Law 101-605. The sanctuary includes 9,515 km2 (3,673 mi2) of coastal waters around the Florida Keys. The Sanctuaries and Reserves Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was charged with developing a comprehensive management plan and regulations to protect sanctuary resources (NOAA 1995). We focus on the current status of Florida Keys reef fishes and areas where research is needed immediately.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Book chapter
Publication Subtype:
Book Chapter
Title:
Reef fishes of the Florida Keys
Year Published:
1995
Language:
English
Publisher:
National Biological Service
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Florida Integrated Science Center
Description:
6 p.
Larger Work Type:
Book
Larger Work Subtype:
Monograph
Larger Work Title:
Our living resources: A report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems
First page:
279
Last page:
284
Country:
United States
State:
Florida
Other Geospatial:
Florida Keys