Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research
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Primary Production Working Group
(Phase I, 2000-2006)


Taylor Slough ecotone Taylor Slough estuarine ecotone
To investigate primary production, or the amount of living material produced when nutrients and energy from sunlight are used to create plant tissues, researchers collected data along two of the Evergladesí major drainage basins: Shark River Slough, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and Taylor Slough, which drains to Florida Bay. Previous work had shown that the estuarine ecotone at the end of the Shark River Slough drainage basin is characterized by higher rates of plant and animal productivity than upstream oligotrophic, or nutrient-poor, marshes due to the presence of phosphorus-rich marine water. But FCE-LTER scientists believed that the Taylor Slough/Florida Bay estuarine ecotone would exhibit a lower rate of productivity compared to the Shark River Slough/Gulf of Mexico ecotone because Florida Bay has dense seagrass beds that can sequester phosphorus and low tidal action that can inhibit marine phosphorus from entering the estuarine ecotone. The hypothesis, however, proved to be incorrect. While productivity in the Taylor Slough/Florida Bay ecotone was high, it was due to the presence of phosphorus in the groundwater as it seeped through openings in the limestone bedrock rather than marine phosphorus.

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National Science Foundation logo This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DEB-1832229, #DEB-1237517, #DBI-0620409, and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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