LATE HOLOCENE VERMETIFORM GASTROPOD AND OYSTER REEF DEVELOPMENT AND THEIR RELATION TO COASTAL EVOLUTION IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
Vibracore transects through both protected estuarine and open coastal reef structures in the 10,000 Islands and Estero Bay, Southwest Florida show that fossil vermetiform reefs are restricted to currently more open coastal positions. Oysters cap vermetiform reefs and dominate modern reef growth in more protected estuarine settings. These reefs contain a complex history of succession and alternation between oyster and vermetiform gastropod-dominated frameworks. Preliminary C14 dating demonstrates that vermetiform reef development initiated during a period of rapid sea-level rise prior to 3200 ybp.
Ongoing research will test the hypotheses that vermetiform gastropods produced framework structures during times of rapid sea-level rise in unprotected coastal settings, and that they created protective barrier reef environments that provided estuarine-like conditions favoring the development of oyster reefs.