St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Mapping and Data Integration
Baseline geologic maps for the Florida coastal and shelf offshore are needed to provide the underpinning of habitat and resource maps and modeling efforts. State, federal and private entities often lack critical information about particular habitat distributions on the shelf. Associations between geologic formations, habitats, and resources have been identified on the shelf but are not geographically comprehensive. This effort will attempt to extend and correlate onshore geology with the geology of the shelf to identify critical benthic habitats and areas for detailed mapping.
The carbon flux question also comes into play in this region of the Gulf of Mexico with substantial and varied marine/terrestrial interface. Understanding the relationship between surficial, near-surface, and underlying karst geology can provide valuable data and insights used in predicting and modeling the relationships between ocean-chemistry changes, sea-level change, and geology. Combining the data collected in emergent marine outcrops with samples from currently-submerged strata of varying age (i.e. Holocene – Eocene) can provide insight into the relationship between fauna, habitat, climate, and sea-level change. Furthermore, geologic deposits produced by calcifying ecosystems of the early Tertiary, when atmospheric CO2 levels were probably at least 500 ppmv, and accompanied by a sharp rise in sea surface temperatures (5-9ºC) over only 100-1000 years may provide important clues regarding calcification/dissolution patterns under such scenarios. Acquisition and compilation of existing geologic data sets from Florida shelf will continue. Data sets include geologic framework information on the offshore geology and sediment/rock age data, sediment data, seismic, and additional bathymetry datasets. These datasets will be put into GIS layers. Onshore topographic data will be linked to bathymetric data in this area.