Coastal Ecology and Biodiversity
Scientists at Florida State University are examining the ecology of systems ranging from barrier dunes to salt marshes, from mangroves to oyster reefs, addressing factors ranging from genetic variation and trophic interactions to climatic effects such as hurricanes and global change. This research has important implications for the conservation and management of these systems in the face of increasing human demands on their services.
While study sites range from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropics of Panama and Belize, The Florida panhandle remains a primary focus of our work. It represents a biodiversity hotspot, both in terms of the numbers of species and unique habitats found here. For instance, along the coast we have productive oyster reefs, seagrass beds, salt marshes, and sandy dunes and swales. Our natural areas are economically valuable, with high primary productivity, nutrient cycling, and fisheries production, and biodiversity can be important for maintaining these important ecosystem services. Because diversity can also increase the ability of natural systems to respond to disturbances, protecting biodiversity is likely to be important as global change continues.
Florida State University is uniquely situated in this diverse region, making it an ideal location for research into the causes and consequences of biodiversity.