"Waterways” Highlights Wading Birds of the Everglades and Benthic Studies in the Florida Keys

Photo of roseate spoonbills and egrets foraging in Everglades National Park. Roseate spoonbills and egrets forage in Everglades National Park.

The "Waterways" series continues to showcase the south Florida ecosystem in a new two-part episode featuring the unique wading birds of Everglades National Park and an overview of benthic studies looking at the make-up of the seafloor in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

In the first segment, “Wading Birds of the Everglades,” Everglades National Park biologists discuss the importance of the habitat the park provides for 16 species of wading birds.  Everglades protects the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America, including white ibis, egrets, herons, roseate spoonbills and federally endangered wood storks.  Decimated by plume hunters in the 1900s, populations of these and other wading birds are showing signs of rebounding, including moving back into historical nesting sites within the park.

Scientists from NOVA’s Southeast University Oceanographic Center document the seafloor and its community of plants and animals that make up the foundation of the Keys’ coral reef ecosystem in the second segment, “Benthic Studies in the Florida Keys.”  Studying the corals, seaweed, and invertebrates gives scientists and managers critical information on the condition of the ecosystem.

Photo of SCUBA diver running a transect line for a benthic survey. SCUBA divers run a transect line for a benthic survey.

With more than 200 episodes produced since 1993, the "Waterways" series is a joint project between Everglades National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, informing viewers of the diverse wonders of the south Florida ecosystem, and the research and conservation programs that protect them.

“Waterways” airs on public and government channels throughout the state of Florida — check local listings for scheduling. Episodes can be viewed on the WaterwaysTvShow YouTube channel and the WaterwaysTV Show Vimeo channel.

To learn more, visit the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program.