Biscayne National Park - Biscayne Bay

Dolphins on Biscayne Bay
Dolphins on Biscayne Bay
vase sponge

Where sediments are thin, plants can't take root. These areas are appropriately called hardbottom, and could be described as an underwater desert. Although the hardbottom areas may appear barren and lifeless, this is far from the truth. They are home to soft corals, sponges, and numerous other invertebrates which find shelter inside the sponges or beneath the sediments, including the tasty spiny lobster which finds food and shelter in the hardbottom.


Seagrass Meadows
Where sediments are more than just a few inches thick, lush meadows of seagrasses form. Like the grasses of your lawn at home, seagrasses are flowering plants. They have roots, stems, and flowers. They produce oxygen. And without exceptionally clear water that allows the sunlight to reach them, seagrasses will die off just as your lawn at home would if it were deprived of sunlight.

lush seagrass meadow

Seagrasses are critically important to the bay's ecology because they help stabilize sediments, keeping the water much clearer than it otherwise might be. Seagrasses also provide food and hiding places for countles juvenile and adult creatures.

There are three major types of seagrasses found in the bay. Shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) is an early colonizer of disturbed areas and usually grows in water too shallow for other species. Turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum), the most common seagrass in the park, has wide leaf blades and a deep root structure, and forms most of the large, lush seagrass meadows found in the park. Manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) is easily recognizable because its leaves are cylindrical.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

9700 SW 328th Street
Sir Lancelot Jones Way

Homestead, FL 33033


(305) 230-1144
If you can not find what you are looking for on the park website then call us at 305.230.1144.

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