Pioneer Snook Project
Last fall, Emma Pistole started a Master of Science program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation). Since then, her project on the northward expansion of common snook into the Nature Coast has gained a lot of attention and generated excitement among fishing guides, anglers, and scientists. Check out the two videos below showing some highlights from Emma’s exciting work. She just returned from her first trip to the FWRI lab in St. Petersburg where she processed the first round of fin clips to extract the genetic information that will tell us more about these “Pioneer Snook”. See Videos Here
Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch
Horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) are a common sight on sandy beaches and other nearshore habitats in Florida. Horseshoe crabs are important for several reasons. Many marine species eat horseshoe crab eggs, the crabs serve as bait (conch and eel fisheries) and they are captured live for display in aquaria and research. In addition, the blood of horseshoe crabs is vital for biomedical testing – the FDA requires that all injectable medicines, devices used for injection, and internal prosthetics undergo testing with an extract only found in horseshoe crab blood (Limulus Amebocyte Lysate).
Raccoons, birds-of-prey, human disturbance, high tides… these are all potential threats to American Oystercatchers breeding along the nature coast. Oystercatchers have shown poor nesting success in the region in recent years but currently little is known about the factors affecting productivity. Nick Vitale, a graduate student with NCBS and UF WEC, is working to find out more.
Collaborative Sea Turtle Research In St Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve
In 2001, Rick Herren and a few of his colleagues formed a new company focused on studying sea turtles in the ocean. Since then the company, called Inwater Research Group (IRG), has captured thousands of turtles on projects carried out in Florida’s lagoons, bays and nearshore waters, but they haven’t done it alone. Researchers from over two dozen government agencies, universities and non-profits have joined them. The ability to study turtles in the ocean often depends on the quality of the research team. It’s not an easy environment to work in, permits are complicated and funding is often limited. While Rick is beginning his PhD studying the ecology of sea turtles along the Nature Coast in affiliation with UF and the Sea Turtle Conservancy, he recently had the opportunity to join IRG and other researchers on two projects in St Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve (SMMAP) just south of Crystal River.
The first sampling trip in May focused on collecting blood from juvenile green turtles with a tumor disease called fibropapillomatosis (FP) and from turtles without the disease. The purpose was to better understand the impacts of FP on the health of green turtles...
Evaluating lionfish management strategies on the West Florida Shelf
Red lionfish (Pterois volitans) have the potential to have heavy impacts on certain fish tropic levels in the West Florida Shelf if populations are not managed effectively
By: Maria Paula Mugnani
In 1995, the first colony of red lionfish (Pterois volitans) was discovered off the coast of Miami, Florida. Over the last couple of decades, the invasive meso-predator’s populations have grown exponentially as its range has expanded up into the Gulf of Mexico and the West Florida Shelf, a deep-water reef zone off the coast of Panama City. Dr. Michael Allen, Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) at the University of Florida researches fish population and community responses to climate change, restoration efforts and species interactions across a variety of aquatic ecosystems.
View the Lionfish Research Poster