Indian River Lagoon, Florida
Nutrient over-enrichment and light limitation of seagrass communities in the Indian River Lagoon, an urbanized subtropical estuary
Comparative ecophysiology of bloom-forming macroalgae in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida: Ulva lactuca, Hypnea musciformis, and Gracilaria tikvahiae
Effects of Hurricanes, Land Use, and Water Management on Nutrient and Microbial Pollution: St. Lucie Estuary, Southeast Florida
Located along Florida’s east-central coast, the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a shallow (mean depth 0.8 m) and narrow (3 km wide) bar-built estuary extending 251 km between Jupiter & Ponce inlets.
Because the IRL comprises a transition zone between temperate & subtropical biomes,
the IRL is considered a regional-scale
ecotone & one of the most species-diverse estuaries in North America.
These changes greatly altered the hydrology & increased stormwater discharges to the IRL. This is especially evident in the St. Lucie Estuary, which now receives periodic excessive freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee, especially following hurricanes & tropical storms.
The IRL watersheds have experienced dramatic changes in land-use over the past century. Historically, drainage of the IRL basin occurred through slow, meandering streams, creeks, rivers, & wetlands. Since the Drainage Acts of Florida (1916) that permitted the creation of canals to drain uplands for agriculture, reduce flooding, & control mosquitos, the IRL watershed has nearly tripled its size from 231,480 hectares to more than 566,560 hectares.