Virtual Classroom: Building Coastal Literacy

Photo by Nick Baldwin

The FSUCML VIRTUAL CLASSROOM introduces you to the local habitats and ecological communities that occur in Florida, from the coast and continental shelf to the deep sea. The habitats surrounding the laboratory, and indeed, throughout the Florida Big Bend, are remarkably pristine, very unlike the more developed areas to our west and south. Yet, we tend to overlook their importance to ecosystem resilience and to human health. We feel that increased awareness of these habitats increases our support for them and that wandering in them enhances our spiritual well-being.


From acidic freshwater wetlands like the pitcher plant bogs that occur in northwest Florida (the greatest concentration of pitcher plants on the planet) to saltwater marshes like the relatively alkaline Spartina-Juncus stands, learn about the ecosystem services these marvelously diverse habitats bring to the planet.

List of Area Species

FSU scientists across the campus have contributed to the development of local species lists. Among the lists included here are (1) marine species of St. Joe Bay; (2) bay scallops on the Gulf coast; (3) sessile macroinvertebrates of Apalachee Bay; and (4) the plants around the marine lab. We also provide links to the FSU Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium and to Oceana’s Marine Life Encyclopedia. So kick back and take a virtual tour of local flora and fauna.

Fast Facts and Sea Life of the Wilderness Coast

Some of the more interesting and important species around the lab are characterized on easy-to-read, one-page “FAST FACT” flyers, from manatees and oysters to the funny little white squirrels that live in the trees on laboratory property. We also have a small publication by Dr. William F. Herrnkind called, “Sea Life of the Wilderness Coast: The Big Picture,” providing an overview of the physical and biological features of the region.

Citizen Science

Anyone can be a citizen scientist! Citizen scientists contribute to the scientific community by reporting sightings of rare species, environmental changes, and much more. Observations you make on your everyday adventures could be very helpful for scientists. Know what to look for and keep your eyes peeled. This page contains current citizen scientist opportunities. Check them out.

Last Updated: Monday, January 27, 2020 at 4:19 PM