Savanna grew up on a small farm in central Virginia and discovered her interest in marine ecology during family vacations to small fishing towns along the Chesapeake Bay. After earning her B.S. in Biology from the University of Virginia, Savanna split her time between Gainesville, FL and Little Cayman Island to earn her M.S. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences through the University of Florida.

Her M.S. research focused on interactions between seagrasses and calcifying algae but she was also involved in youth education and public outreach on the island. While in Little Cayman, Savanna completed her Divemaster certification and co-organized an island-wide effort to remove invasive lionfish from local coral reefs. After completing her M.S., Savanna moved back to Gainesville full-time to continue into a Ph.D. program at the University of Florida.

She did her dissertation work in the beautiful seagrass meadows of the southern Nature Coast where she investigated the morphology, resilience, invertebrate community composition, and carbon storage of seagrass meadows growing under different rates of nutrient input. Savanna began serving the Nature Coast as a Regional Specialized Agent with Sea Grant and UF/IFAS Extension in February 2016 and graduated with her doctorate in April 2016. She lives in Cedar Key and is stationed full time at the Nature Coast Biological Station.

UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station faculty and Sea Grant agent Savanna Barry working in Cedar Key, Florida surveying recreational boaters and checking monofilament recycling and disposal containers on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016.

Savanna’s extension program is as diverse as the habitats and wildlife that inhabit the Nature Coast. See below for a current list of her programs and be sure to follow her blog (Inside Nature Coast) and the NCBS Facebook to keep up with the great research and extension at NCBS. Get in touch with Savanna ( if you want additional information or would like to get involved!

Sustainable Coastal Recreation

Enhancing and Restoring Marine Ecosystems:

Coastal Environmental Literacy and Stewardship:

  • Florida Master Naturalist Program: we teach several modules of the Florida Master Naturalist Program, including Coastal Systems, Coastal Shoreline Restoration, and Marine Habitat Restoration.
  • Citizen Science: Involvement in the study of natural systems is associated with increased stewardship and conservation of resources. Email if you are interested in getting involved.
    • Horseshoe Crab Nesting Surveys: This program takes place during full and new moons in the spring and fall. Training for new volunteers is available before each sampling round, all equipment is provided.
    • Nature Coast Water Watch/Coastal LAKEWATCH: Citizen water quality monitoring sites coming to an estuary near you! Coastal water quality affects everyone in the Nature Coast because our economies are dependent on high quality natural resources. Training and equipment are provided to volunteers at no charge.
  • Public talks and festivals: Interested in hearing about the latest science in the Nature Coast, sustainable coastal living, or other coastal topics? Savanna and other NCBS staff regularly give presentations to community groups and appear at festivals throughout the Nature Coast – get in touch to schedule a talk for your group. Or, stop by our booth at events such as the Cedar Key Arts and Seafood Festivals, the Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, National Estuaries Day, and similar events.