Biscayne National Park

The Bay

"The waters of Biscayne Bay are exceedingly clear. In no part can one fail to clearly distinguish objects on the bottom....," biologist Hugh Smith wrote in 1895. Today the shallow waters of this tropical lagoon are still remarkably transparent. They serve as a blue-green tinted window to a world of starfish, sponges, crabs, sea urchins, fish of all types, and hundreds of other marine plants and animals.

The bay is a huge reservoir of natural riches, teeming with unusual, valuable, and rare wildlife. It is home for many; temporary refuge and feeding ground for others; birthplace and nursery for still others. It is a benign powerhouse, designed to draw energy from the sun and use it to support a complex and far-reaching web of life.

One unusual animal that depends on this web is the manatee. This gentle blubbery giant visits the bay in winter to graze peacefully on turtle and manatee grasses. It is the water's warmth and ample food supply that attract this endangered marine mammal.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »