Everglades National Park

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Periphyton, Everglades National Park, Florida- click to see full size image
For most of the year this area is covered with very shallow water. You can see some interesting small limestone ridges in the photo that would partially submerged during the wet season. What you can't see well in the photo is that the ground below the grass is covered with a substance called periphyton. Up close periphyton looks a little like short stubby worms made of clay. Periphyton is a complex mixture of algae and various microbes that creates the basic food source for the Everglades wildlife. The smallest animals feed on the periphyton, and they in turn are eaten by bigger animals. Perhaps a bit boring to look at, but without it everything else dies!

 


Text, photos, and images by Jess Stryker, unless noted. Copyright © Jess Stryker, 2008. All rights reserved.
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