Tampa Bay 2014

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Tampa Bay 2014

Tampa Bay Estuary

Florida Manatee

Florida Manatee:Trichechus Manatus LatirostrisThe Florida Manatee has been dubbed the state marine animal of Florida. They can grow up from 10-12 feet in length and 1,800 lbs in weight. The manatee has a very thick and wrinkly skin. The Florida Manatee is a herbivores. They mostly feed on seagrasses, and other freshwater flora. They are year-round inhabitants of the Florida estuary. Manatees are gentle, slow-moving organisms that communicate with each other underwater. The manatee typically has one calf a year that weigh 60-70 lbs and are 7-8 ft in length. Florida Manatees are also endangered, they are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

Turtle Grass

Turtle Grass:Thalassia testudinumTurtle Grass is the most common seagrass in Tampa Bay. It can thrive in high salinity water. Turtle grass has long blades that come in bundles of 7. This flora is home to many organisms such as over 113 different species of algae.

What is Tampa Bay?Tampa Bay is a large estuary along the coast of Florida that connects to the Gulf of Mexico. Initially, about 6,000 years ago, Tampa Bay was a fresh water lake. One theory is that sea levels rose to the point of creating a sinkhole at the mouth of the lake thus creating an estuary. Tampa Bay encompasses 4 major rivers: Hillsborough, Alfalfa, Manatee, Little Manatee. There are over 100 tributaries that flow into the Tampa Bay. This estuary is nearly 400 square miles and is home to a large biodiversity. Each square meter of sediment can contain on average 10,000 organisms.Although Tampa Bay is one of the largest open-water estuary full of life and biodiversity, it is also victim to pollution. More than 4 billion gallons of oil and hazaderous materials pass through Tampa Bay each year. One program that strives to protect the Bay is the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

Manatee Grass

Manatee Grass:Syringodium filiformeManatee Grass is known for its popularity the manatees. This organism has cylindrical leaves, not flat leaves. It can range up to one ft high in length and is often found in shallow waters. It can be found near bundles of turtle grass. Manatee grass is more able to thrive in high temperature but low salinity waters.


Tampa Bay Sam Aceves & Melissa MohrMillerMarine Biology/Period 425 March 2014

Bottlenose Dolphin: Tursiops TruncatesResearchers have identified more than 850 bottlenose dolphins in Tampa Bay, but only two-thirds are though to live there year round. The bottlenose dolphin is often seen breaking the surface of Tampa Bay to capture air through its blow hole. They use a complex system of squeaks and whistles to communicate with one another as well as using echolocation to find their prey. The bottlenose dolphins average length is 8 feet long and their average weight can vary between 400-600 pounds.

Bottlenose Dolphin

Shoal Grass

Shoal Grass: Galodule WrightiiThe leaves of shoal grass are less than a half-inch wide. It may grow at most about 15 inches high. It is also known as being a pioneer species because it is the first to grow out of all the grasses in the Tampa Bay area.

Gopher Tortoise

Gopher Tortoise: Gopherus PolyphemusThis unrecognized reptiles daily life consitsts of eating grass and berries by day and sleeping in a hole in the ground by night. Their burrow homes can be up to 15 feet long which also gives homes to more than 300 other species. This tortois is a protected spcies in Florida being recognized in 2007 as a threatened species. They are between 9 and all inches long and can live from 40 to 60 years.


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