Dr. Felicia C. Coleman
Full Research Faculty
Director, Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory
Reef Fish Ecologist, Marine Resource Policy
Ph.D., Florida State University, 1991
Research and Professional Interests
My primary research interest is in marine ecology, with an emphasis on the linkages between reef fishes and habitat. This interest led me to explore the effects of fishing on the demography of exploited populations, particularly in its effects on spawning aggregations of fish in the grouper family (Serranidae). Groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites/ that is, each individual changes sex from female to male over the course of its lifetime. What I found was that, for several species at least, fishing appears to lead to a loss of males, thus skewing the sex ratio in favor of females.
This research, plus my long-standing interest in conservation, led me to question how (or whether) such ecologically relevant information for an exploited species was incorporated into its management and reflected in governmental policy. What I have found over the years is that in many cases, the information is not properly transferred from scientists to policy makers and the general public. I have spent a number of years working to bridge this gap with respect to management of marine resources. In this work, I have been fortunate enough to serve on a number of committees and councils whose charges involve conservation of marine resources, including the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, The National Marine Fisheries Service Ecosystem Management Advisory Panel, The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's Ecosystem Advisory Panel, The Tortugas 2000 Marine Reserve Working Group, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and the National Research Council.