The Benthic Fauna and Sediments of the Nearshore Zone Off Panama City Beach, Florida.
NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE PANAMA CITY FLA PANAMA CITY LAB
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This study presents 1 basic data on the benthic fauna and surface sediments of the nearshore zone of Panama City Beach, Fla., before restoration of the beach, and 2 the results of a study on the effect of Hurricane Eloise on the benthic fauna in the swash zone of Panama City Beach. Surface sediments were analyzed for particle-size distribution, percent carbon, organic carbon and carbonate, and statistical factors. The surface sediments exhibited uniformity over time and location. Benthic invertebrates were represented by 170 species in 26 major taxa. The taxon with the most abundant species 69 was the phylum Polychaeta. The fauna was dominated by 14 species which constituted 80 of the collected individuals. The number of species and the diversity index were lowest in the swash zone and highest at the offshore stations at a depth of 30 feet. Number of individuals was highest in May and August and lowest in November and February. Correlation of animal abundance to selected sedimentological parameters was low. Mean grain size was the most significant sediment factor tested. The effect of Hurricane Eloise was extensive. The beach and primary sand dune were severely eroded. The number of individuals continued to increase for 6 days following the storm thereafter, it decreased. The number of species increased also, reaching a peak on the third day after the storm, and then it decreased.
- Biological Oceanography