SS3.15 Physical Forcing and Pelagic-Benthic Interactions in Aquatic Systems
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 12:00:00 PM
Location: Oak Bay
 
JonesDL, Univ of Miami & NOAA, Miami, USA, Dave.Jones@noaa.gov
Yeung, C, , Univ. of Miami - CIMAS, Miami, USA, cyeung@rsmas.miami.edu
Criales, M, M, Univ. of Miami - CIMAS, Miami, USA, mcriales@rsmas.miami.edu
 
LARGE EDDY, SMALL EDDY - SUPPLYING RECRUITS TO THE SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEM
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Where spawning and juvenile habitats are spatially disjunct in marine populations, connections must exist to ensure sustainability. In the diverse subtropical marine ecosystem of South Florida, keystone species such as snappers (Lutjanus spp.), spiny lobster (Panulirus argus), and pink shrimp (Farfantespenaeus duorarum) use the shallow, estuarine Florida Bay for nursery. A principal spawning ground is at the marine coastal reefs of the Dry Tortugas some 150 km upstream. A large, semi-permanent cyclonic eddy resides off the Dry Tortugas for periods of 1-3 months. Its evolution is modulated by the flow configuration of the upstream boundary current. When the Tortugas eddy is released, it propagates downstream towards the coastal waters offshore of Florida Bay in the form of a transient eddy. The eddy diminishes in size with progress and ultimately disintegrates. The large Tortugas eddy and its smaller later stages provide mechanisms for retention and enrichment of young spawns at source and for subsequent transport to the juvenile nursery. The association of eddy formation with the regional boundary current also implies possible connections to Caribbean sources of recruits further upstream