FSUCML in the News

Low freshwater input affects survival of Apalachicola oyster population

In a recent paper in Ecology and Evolution, Dr. Laure Petes, Alicia Brown, and Carley Knight describe the effect of water withdrawals and drought on the incidence of disease in Apalachicola oysters. Large oysters suffered higher mortality than small oysters and conditions worsened in summer. This has important implications for watershed management to control disease. Dr. Petes (NOAA Climate Office) conducted this research as a post doc at FSUCML, working with Alicia (FSU PhD student) and Carley (University of Southern Mississippi MSc student) when they were undergraduates in the Certificate Program in Marine Biology.

Nuke plant fish kill leads to improved reporting procedures

In late August, a massive fish kill at a Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) nuclear power plant included 50 to 75 protected goliath grouper. But, the fact that goliath grouper were killed went unreported for months. FSUCML faculty, Dr. Chris Koenig comments on how the lack of communication from FPL has affected goliath research. FPL's actions have also prompted Florida wildlife officials to create a protocol for gathering information about fish kills at power plants.

Graduate student Hanna Garland studies crown conch invasion in Mantanzas Inlet

A Florida crown conch population explosion devastates the oyster populations in Southern St. Johns County. The conchs eat oysters and clams and can destroy entire reefs. In particular, the data collected by graduate student, Hanna Garland, reveals the crown conch racing through oyster beds, especially near Matanzas Inlet. She was looking to find whether the animals were eating oysters that were killed off by something else or if they were directly responsible for the damage. Results proved that it was solely the conchs, without a doubt.

Good news and bad news

FSUCML faculty Christopher Koenig and Felicia Coleman's research, which synthesized data from over 30,000 surveys to map goliath density across space and time, shows that the recovery of the species is concentrated off the southwest coast of Florida. This research as well as Koenig and Coleman's new investigation will provide more insight into the impact and successes of the 1990 goliath grouper fishing ban.

Goliath grouper's comeback creates conflict

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.

Graduate student, Lisa Hollensead tags endangered sawfish in South Florida

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.