Capstone Title

The Florida Bay and Adjacent Marine Systems Science Program: An Effective Model for Science Program Management?

Defense Date

2000

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Stacy Myers

Abstract

Over the past several years there have been indications that the environmental health of Florida Bay may be deteriorating. These indications include but are not limited to the following: 1) a perceived decline in fishing success for many of the commercial and recreational species that depend up on the Bay as a juvenile nursery habitat, 2) atypical algal blooms across much of western Florida Bay, some extending into the Florida Keys, 3) massive seagrass die-offs in western Florida Bay since the summer of 1987, 4) recent reports that mangroves within the Bay are in decline, and 5) sponge mortalities as a result of algal blooms. While the causes of the various problems and the relationships between them are not well understood, there is definite concern that the coastal marine ecosystem of Florida Bay may be in jeopardy. To generate the requisite scientific information, a group of federal and state agencies have been collaborating in an interagency Florida Bay Science Program. The program is centered around the Strategic Plan for the Interagency Florida Bay Science Program to ensure that participating agencies are conducting closely complementary research, monitoring, and modeling projects which, together, should provide the answers to the most critical scientific questions about the Bay ecosystem.

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