One goal of the FCE LTER is to investigate how long and short-term variation in water flow, quality and disturbance influence patterns of primary production along the freshwater to marine hydrologic/salinity gradient. Primary production is measured at all sites using methods and schedules that are pertain to the dominant plant or algal group present at the site. In the freshwater marsh, primary productivity of sawgrass is measured in three quadrats at each site on a bimonthly schedule using a non-destructive allometric technique. Productivity of periphyton is measured at the same sites during the wet season using triplicate artificial substrates and light-dark bottle incubations to determine oxygen production. Mangrove productivity is estimated at estuary sites in replicate 0.04 ha plots by quantifying litterfall (monthly), stem/wood production (annually) and belowground production (semi-annually). Marine sites are visited on a biomonthly schedule and productivity of benthic seagrass is measured by leaf-marking, macroalgae using vital staining and microalgae using artificial substrates. At both the estuary and marine sites, phytoplankton productivity is quanitifed monthly by coupling PAR measurements with pulse amplitude modulated flourometry. These data will be coupled with measurements of nutrient availability, DOM, and other biotic and abiotic parameters to determine hydrologically-driven trends in limiting resources across the land-ocean margin ecosystem.
Sawgrass plots in Taylor Slough (TS/Ph-3)
Seagrass in Florida Bay (TS/Ph-10)
Mangroves in Shark River Slough (SRS-6)
Dwarf mangroves in Taylor Slough (TS/Ph-6)