These funded projects address priority issues affecting Florida’s oceans and coasts. Projects are done in collaboration with the private sector, local governments, or with resource management agencies.

Want to learn more about Sea Grant projects around the country?

The brand new National Sea Grant Impacts and Accomplishments database can search funded projects by state, year and project focus area. To access the database, click the following link: Sea Grant Impacts and Accomplishments

Aquaculture
Accessing Florida’s Coast
Climate Change/Coastal Planning
Fisheries
Healthy Oceans and Coasts
Seafood Safety
Hazard-Resilience
Coastal Partnership Initiative

Aquaculture

Manipulating microbes to improve aquaculture efficiency. Andrea Tarnecki, Mote Marine Laboratory. Bacterial management issues cause mass mortality in fish aquaculture creating economic losses for the seafood and aquarium trade and affecting the success of stock enhancement efforts. This project will test naturally occurring probiotics for the aquaculture industry to reduce current survival bottlenecks with guidance from an advisory board of industry partners. R/LR-A-54


Application on triploidy to an emergent oyster culture industry on the west coast of Florida.  Leslie SturmerUniversity of Florida. Florida’s shellfish aquaculture industry would benefit from new oyster products that can survive or thrive under warming water conditions. This project intends to support the diversification of Florida’s shellfish aquaculture industry by evaluating the commercial viability and production performance of triploid oysters with industry partners under various environmental conditions. R/LR-A-53


Building Hatchery Capacity for Production of a Promising Shellfish Aquaculture Species: the Sunray Venus Clam. Dr. Susan Laramore, Florida Atlantic University. High mortality of clam and oyster seed is hampering the expansion of Florida’s shellfish aquaculture industry. To address this issue, this project partners researchers with Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida with the Bay Shellfish Company, to build hatchery capacity by optimizing spawning protocols for Sunray Venus clam seed. The intent is to remove impediments to year-round commercial-scale production of this promising new aquaculture species in Florida. R/LR-A-56


Pioneering Offshore Aquaculture in the Southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Neil Sims, Velella Epsilon CorporationThis project, being funded through a National Strategic Initiative to promote large-scale aquaculture in the US, partners researchers at the University of Miami with the Velella Epison Corporation to develop a demonstration open ocean cage finfish aquaculture system. The project will document the process to motivate commercial finfish aquaculture production in Federal waters within the Gulf of Mexico. An educational component will address public misperceptions of and industry resistance to offshore aquaculture, which is constrained by the lack of guidelines for permitting and concerns over the industry’s potential impact to ocean environments. R/LR-A-57


Expanding Marine Aquaculture in the US: Technology for Commercial-scale Hatchery and Nursery Production of High Value Marine Reef Fish. Daniel Benetti, University of MiamiThis project, being funded through a National Strategic Initiative to promote large-scale aquaculture in the US, partners researchers at the University of Miami with Beaver Street Fisheries, Inc. and Aqquua LLC. The project will address constraints to producing Nassau Grouper, Red Snapper and Hogfish fingerlings to support production of these high-value fish that represent significant commercial potential. R/LR-A-58


Information Transfer about Shellfish hatchery Operations: An Extension Project Targeting Small Family-based Hatchery Farms in Florida. Huiping Yang, University of Florida. This outreach project, being funded through a National Strategic Initiative to promote aquaculture, will deliver training and information on seed production for oysters and hard clams to strengthen the development and productivity of small family-operated shellfish hatcheries in Florida. R/LR-A-59

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Accessing Florida’s Coast

State and Local Policy Innovation and Implementation for Coastal Communities. Tom Ankersen, University of Florida. This project will provide continuing legal and policy assistance to coastal zone stakeholders in order to enhance coastal access, revitalize coastal communities, protect ecosystem health and address coastal change through hazard mitigation and adaptation. This policy and legal assistance will be provided in four different areas: recreational and commercial working waterfronts, boating and waterway management, coastal change and protection of watersheds. R/C-P-46

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Climate Change/Coastal Planning

ADAPT: Adaptation Design and Planning Tool for Urban Areas in the Coastal Zone. Jeffrey Huber, Florida Atlantic University. South Florida cities are increasingly recognizing that man-made armoring of the coast is a short-term solution to address community vulnerabilities from sea level rise. This project will produce a resilient coastal urbanism tool called ADaPT (Adaptation Design and Planning Tool) to addresses opportunities for low impact development and green infrastructure technologies at lot, street and neighborhood scales. This will result in a manual that offers a design framework for adaptation action areas at appropriate scales for coastal community land-use planning, with a pilot application for the City of Ft. Lauderdale. R/C-S-61

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Fisheries

Developing Genetic Parentage Analysis of Bay Scallops Spawned for Restoration. Josh Patterson, University of Florida. Bay scallop restoration efforts are becoming more popular in Florida. An issue that hampers evaluation of the benefits of these restoration efforts is a reliable method of determining the success of hatchery reared larval scallops released for restoration. This project will develop a genetic tool that allows managers to trace the lineage (hatchery of origin) of scallop larvae released and to determine the genetic variability of scallops released for restoration relative to naturally occurring populations.  PD-16-20.


Novel application of galvanic fields to reduce shark bycatch in various fisheries. Dean Grubbs, Florida State University. Bycatch mortality in pelagic and coastal fisheries has been identified as one of the primary factors contributing to declines in shark populations.  Shark bycatch also imposes a significant economic burden on commercial fishermen because bycatch species occupy hooks that could be used for target species. In addition, sharks bite off and damage gear adding material and time costs for removal and repair. This project will test a patent-pending method of creating bio-electric fields around hooks by galvanizing zinc and graphite to repel sharks and other bycatch, thereby, increasing the efficiency and profitability of commercial fishing. R/LR-G-5


Impacts of stock spatial structure and connectivity on the stock assessment and management of Caribbean spiny lobster stocks. Yuying Zhang, Florida International University. Caribbean spiny lobster stock assessment models consider the target spiny lobster stock as a discrete group. Spatial structures within the stock are ignored by assuming the population within each stock is well-mixed, and every individual is subject to experience the same life history.This project will evaluate a new method of assessment that considers the effects of spatial structure and connectivity on the stock of Caribbean spiny lobster as input to management of the fishery. R/LR-B-74


Reduction in Trap-related Mortality of Sublegal Caribbean Spiny Lobsters through the Development of an Artificial Bait Based on Natural Aggregation Pheromones. Don Behringer, University of FloridaIn Florida, it is common practice for lobstermen to bait traps using juvenile lobsters – it is estimated that almost 1 million small lobsters are used as trap bait each day. These juvenile lobsters suffer a mortality that can be as high as 47%. The project researchers have partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to develop and test an artificial bait for spiny lobster traps that contains molecule(s) that mimic a lobster’s natural aggregation pheromone. The replacement of sublegal-sized lobsters with bait would also allow for the addition of escape gaps to the current lobster trap design. Escape gaps could result in the survival of up to 800,000 sub-legal Caribbean spiny lobsters each year. R/LR-B-76

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Healthy Ecosystems

Returning Ecological Function to Hard-bottom Regions in the Florida Keys through Sponge Restoration and its Importance for an Essential Fish Habitat. Don Behringer, University of Florida. Sponge dominated hard-bottom communities have been decimated in Florida Bay and the Florida Keys due to infrequent but intense cyanobacteria blooms. Natural recovery of sponge communities has been slow and may benefit from active restoration. This project will assess the practicality and benefits of restoring hard-bottom sponge communities in order to maintain ecosystem biodiversity and provide essential habitat for juvenile and adult fish, macroinvertebrates and sea turtles in the Florida Keys. R/LR-B-76


Examining Latitudinal Influence on Sea Oats Germination Ecology and Temperature Stress Tolerance. Hector Perez, University of Florida. Dunes comprised of sea oats vegetation stabilize Florida’s beaches and shorelines from erosion and other storm-induced impacts. Replanting these dune systems after storm events requires that seed be germinated from stocks that are suited physiologically to the environment. The project investigators are partnering with a large-scale nursery, Aqua Plants of Florida, that supplies sea oats for dune restoration. This collaboration will evaluate traits in sea oats that can be used to establish thermal tolerance ranges for successful plantings along a range of habitats in the southeast and Gulf of Mexico regions. The goal is to provide growers with reliable information on sea oats seed collection, storage and plant propagation to support increasing demand for protecting and enhancing living shorelines that include dune restoration and stabilization. R/LR-B-77

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Hazard-Resilience

Characterization and modeling of the damage caused by hurricane induced water penetration in coastal buildings, and subsequent risk evaluation. Jean-Paul Pinelli, Florida Institute of Technology.  Catastrophic hurricane losses are the largest and most pervasive risk facing Florida’s coastal communities. Much of the loss itemized in insurance claims is attributed to damage to interior components including insulation, drywall, electrical systems, appliances and flooring.  This project will use a new “Wall of Wind” facility at Florida International University to quantify interior loss from wind and water penetration. The data will be used to update risk models used by the insurance industry’s Florida Public Hurricane Loss Model to more accurately evaluate risk and set community and homeowner premiums. R/C-S-59


Effectiveness of a Smartphone-based decision support system to stimulate hurricane damage mitigation among homeowners in Coastal Hillsborough County, FL communities. David Prevatt, University of Florida. A critical issue for mitigating future hurricane losses lies not only in developing better engineering solutions, but also in increasing public adoption and application of existing solutions to make their homes more hurricane-proof. To address a public outreach need, this project will refine and test the effectiveness of a new smartphone application as a decision aid for overcoming barriers to mitigation adaptation. R/C-D-23


From the Bottom Up: Implementing Resiliency at the Local Government Level Through Data-Driven Analyses and Community Engagement. Jason Evans, Stetson University. Resiliency planning in many Florida coastal communities has reached a bottleneck in terms of developing local geospatial data to a resolution and standard required for decision-making and confident municipal investment. This project will work with Satellite Beach to integrate high-resolution date into FEMA’s HAZUS tool as input to a community planning process to improve the city’s credits under the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. R/C-S-62


Full-scale Experimentation and Computational Modelling to Mitigate Wind-induced Vibrations and their Effects on Curtainwall Window Systems. Arindam Chowdhury, Florida International University. Window curtainwalls that define the exterior of many high-rise buildings are particularly vulnerable to failure from wind and water penetration attributed to strong storms and hurricanes. The project investigators have partnered with Permasteelisa North America Corporation, a principal developer of curtainwall systems, to research the behavior of these critical architectural components affected by wind and rain using the “Wall of Wind” hurricane simulator at Florida International University. The goal is to develop new design standards to mitigate failure of these systems from wind-induced vibrations and water. R/C-D-24


A Multi-step Method for Extending the Hurricane Record Back in Time to Obtain More Representative Return Period Calculations for East Florida Coastal Communities. Joanne Muller, Florida Gulf Coast UniversityForecasting future coastal storm impacts requires sophisticated modeling, predicated on accurate data for initializing model runs. Current models rely on sparse information that date back to the mid-19th century. Project investigators are partnering with the National Hurricane Center and a number of insurance risk companies (RPI, Swiss Re, Risk Management Solutions Ltd.) to undertake archival and geophysical work that will extend the observational hurricane record back to the mid-18th century, thereby, filling data gaps and improving the accuracy of the information used to drive modelling efforts. The risk management industry is particularly interested in the information that this project will provide to better calibrate and validate the models that are currently used to assess insurance premiums for coastal properties. R/C-S-67

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Coastal Partnership Initiative

Projects funded in 2018 by Florida Sea Grant, in the partnership with the FDEP Coastal Office under their Community Partnership Initiative

Establish mooring fields to reduce anchoring impacts and user conflicts in Kings Bay Citrus County. Poor boating practices such as anchor dragging can lead to seagrass scarring and other detrimental environmental impacts. This project will design, engineer and permit new mooring fields in Kings Bay, City of Crystal River. The new mooring fields will help eliminate anchor drag, propeller dredging, sediment scouring and prevent seagrass scarring.


Develop exhibits for public education at the Cedar Point Environmental Center Charlotte County. Environmental education efforts are created with particular audiences in mind. This project aims to design and develop an environmental educational exhibits within the Cedar Point Environmental Center in western Charlotte County. Environmental programs conducted at the Cedar Point Center will allow thousands of residents and visitors appreciate Charlotte County’s coastal and marine resources.


Design and install interpretive exhibits at the visitor center at Lovers Key State Park Lee County. Lovers Key State Park is the second most visited park in the Florida State Park System. Two years ago, private citizens and local municipal governments worked to secure a budget allocation to build a visitors center with a large outdoor ramp and deck space for wildlife observation. The project will create new educational exhibits for visitors to the park.


Plan a recreational facility (fishing wharf) and paddling trails at Palm Valley Landing St. Johns County. This project involves planning, designing and coordinating an upgraded fishing wharf “pier” in Palm Valley Landing, St. Johns County. This includes a multi-use recreational path that connects to local destinations. This project may be expanded in the future to include more areas that can cater to kayakers, bikers and hikers.


Brittany Bay Park Living Shoreline City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County. The City of Miami Beach is re-evaluating the rehabilitation of its seawalls to protect native mangroves and incorporate green infrastructure for shoreline stabilization. This project represents an opportunity to integrate a hybrid shoreline stabilization “living shoreline” system at the popular Brittany Bay Park. This construction and habitat enhancement project will install 535 linear feet of new concrete to and install limerock riprap boulders to reinforce the seawall. In other areas, exotic (non-native) vegetation will be replaced by natural living shoreline landscaping.


Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park Dune Restoration City of Jacksonville, Duval County Back to back hurricanes during 2016 and 2017 have washed away the dune systems that fortify the popular Kathryn Hanna Abbey Park. This project will install 750 feet of fencing and 10 thousand sea oats plants to fortify the dune system as a natural shoreline to protect the beach and upland hammocks from future storm damage and erosion.