Periphyton is an abundant and ubiquitous feature of the Florida Everglades, often forming thick mats that blanket shallow sediments and submersed plants. They are considered to be primary ecosystem engineers in the Everglades by forming and stabilizing soils, controlling concentrations of nutrients and gases, and supplying food and structure for other organisms. Distribution patterns are related to underlying physicochemical gradients as well as those hydrologic changes imposed by water management. Because communities respond rapidly to environmental change, their use has been advocated to provide indication of system degradation or restoration. The authors review studies on the distribution of periphyton in the Everglades, highlighting major findings relevant to water management, and also areas where additional exploration is necessary.
Gaiser, E.E., P. McCormick, S.E. Hagerthey. 2011. Landscape patterns of periphyton in the Florida Everglades. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 41(S1): 92-120.