The Florida Keys hold a prominent place in a new iPhone application from the Audubon Guide series.
The "Ultimate Guide to Florida Nature," released April 6, is the first of the popular Audubon Guide series to compile extensive information on a state's ecosystem, said Charlie Rattigan, creative director for application designer Green Mountain Digital in Vermont.
Previously released Audubon Guide applications focus on a particular aspect of nature -- wildlife, birds or wildflowers.
The "Ultimate Guide to Florida Nature" ($14.99 at the iTunes site) includes everything from wildlife, plants and fish identification to state park information and even "1,100-plus bird songs and calls."
"We wanted to start our regional nature-guide series where there is huge diversity of ecosystems, and that's Florida, Rattigan said. "It's a unique and remarkable place, and we know it pretty well."
A section on South Florida features a site on the "Reefs, Keys and Tropical Seas."
"There's a description of the various ecosystems in the Keys, from the hardwood hammocks of the Upper Keys to the open pine forests in the Lower Keys," Rattigan said.
A section on coral-reef ecology shows some common fish species, and points out that sharks and other so-called "villains of the reef" actually are most often non-aggressive.
Parks featured include John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park to Bahia Honda and west to the Dry Tortugas National Park.
The statewide Florida guide lists species information on more than 2,600 birds, butterflies, fishes, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, trees, wildflowers and insects.
"There's just a tremendous amount of information in there," Rattigan said. "We've had a good response."
The guide was reviewed by the National Audubon Society as part of an alliance with the Audubon Guides series.
All updates and additions to the "Ultimate Guide to Florida Nature" are free. The application works with the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.
"One of the first things we're doing is adding more fish species," Rattigan said.
For information, see the website: audubonguides.com/app, or visit the Research section of the online iTunes store.