Florida Bay is a shallow carbonate estuary in South Florida. It receives fresh waters from the Everglades that contribute
a number of metals to the Bay. The Bay is the largest estuary in Florida with nearly pristine conditions. In this paper we
report the first extensive studies of trace metals in the Bay. The seasonal distributions of trace metals (Sc, V, Cr, Co,
Cu, Fe, Pb, Mn, Ni and Al) were ... [Show full abstract] determined on surface waters in Florida Bay and adjacent waters. The measurements in the Bay
were made from May 2000 to May 2001, and the adjacent waters were sampled in September 2000 and May 2002. Most of the dissolved
trace metals exhibited their maximum concentrations in summer, except Al and Pb that did not show any seasonal variability.
The seasonal variations of the metals are related to the influx of fresh water from rainfall. The lowest concentrations are
found during the dry season in the winter and the highest during the wet season in the summer. Several metals (V, Mn, Al,
Sc, Fe, Co, Ni and Cr) exhibited their highest concentrations in the western zone of the Bay. These waters from agricultural
areas are influenced by Gulf of Mexico waters, which carry metals coming from Barron, Broad and Shark rivers into the Bay.
The Shark River always exhibited high concentrations of V, Mn, Al, Sc, Co and Cr. Other possible influences in the western
and north-central zone of the Bay are from Flamingo Center, the creeks of Taylor Slough and the mangrove fringe of the Everglades.
High concentrations of Al, Co, Ni, Cr, Cu, Fe, and Pb were detected in the eastern zone. The high values found in the northeast
are influenced by Taylor Slough runoff and in the southeast by Key Largo, Tavernier Marina and the drainage from the main
highway (US1) on Tavernier Key. The minimum concentrations for most of the metals were found in areas near the Key channels
that exchange waters between Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean (Gulf Stream). The adjacent waters in the Atlantic side including
the Gulf Stream waters showed very low concentrations for all the metals studied except for V. In the Bay correlations of
V were found: (1) V with salinity and Al and (2) Sc with Si. Most of the other metals did not show any strong correlations
with nutrients or salinity. Florida Bay is thus not a typical estuary due to the unique structure of its mud banks and multiple
inputs of metals from the mangrove fringe in the north.