As the critically-endangered goliath grouper become more visible in Southwest Florida waters, fishermen are increasingly asking for the right to fish them again. Regulators, however, say science has not shown that the species can handle the fishing pressure. Data on the fish is weak; both their current and historical populations in the region are unknown. The extent of the population increase as well as the viability of a limited goliath fishery is currently under investigation by FSUCML faculty, Christopher Koenig and Felicia Coleman, in a new three year study.
FSUCML in the News
For two years NOAA and FSU have teamed up on a sawfish abundance study that is slowly piecing together the mysterious lives of the first marine fish placed on the federal endangered species list. Among the researchers is FSUCML's grad student Lisa Hollensead, who uses the radio signals from tags placed on the sawfish to find and follow them around by kayak to learn more details about their habits in real time.
Our faculty, Drs. Randall Hughes and David Kimbro often post updates on their ongoing research to this WFSU blog that is dedicated to examining both the Science and Culture on Florida's "Forgotten Coast".
The article is on Drs. Felicia Coleman and Christopher Koenig (FSUCML) and Dr. Christopher Stallings (a former FSUCML postdoc and current USF professor) research examining the effects of the Gulf oil disaster on shallow water coral- and sponge-dominated reefs.
FSUCML scientist, Dr. Dean Grubbs and other researchers are examining deepwater sharks for evidence of hydrocarbons, which would show contamination from the oil spill throughout the deepwater food chain.
Dr. David Kimbro and Randall Hughes (FSUCML), along with scientists from Georgia, North Carolina and Maine, are studying the health and future of the natural oyster reefs in 12 estuaries spanning 1,000 miles of Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shoreline.
Three ecologists, including the director of the FSUCML, Dr. Felicia Coleman, discuss the potential impact of the oil spill, roughly two weeks after the explosion of Deepwater Horizon oil rig which precipitated the disaster.
Emerald Coast Magazine recognizes the lab for its accomplishments in the past few years, largely thanks to director, Dr. Felicia Coleman. This article goes on to discuss some of the changes the lab has made, including hiring full-time faculty to work out of the lab and changing its name to better incorporate all elements of research conducted here.
At a time when large fish are rapidly disappearing from the world's oceans, one giant is making a comeback in Florida. The Goliath Grouper was facing extinction when it became a protected species in 1990. Since then, the population has had a chance to recover. Changing Seas joins scientists in the field to learn more about the life history of these awe-inspiring fish.