AskIFAS Powered by EDIS

about page banner

Florida Sea Grant

The Florida Sea Grant College Program supports research and education activities that help Florida's shoreline communities, industries and citizens wisely use the state's coastal and marine resources.
Source: Florida Sea Grant Marine Extension

Editorial Team

  • Maia McGuire - Editor, Chair, Approver
  • Susan Gildersleeve - ICS Editor
  • Sherry Larkin - Chair
  • Donielle Nardi - Assistant
  • Roberto Ferrer - Assistant


Ocean Acidification: Effects on Sponges

FA263/FA263by Lena A. Donnarumma, Joseph Henry, Joshua Patterson, Shelly Krueger, Lisa Krimsky, and Shirley BakerJune 13, 2024Approximately 30% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere has been absorbed by the world’s oceans. As CO2 emissions increase due to human activities so does the amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans. Carbon dioxide lowers the pH of the ocean system, causing ocean acidification (OA). The effects of OA on economically and ecologically important aquatic species is a subject of interest. Sponges are important reef-associated species that provide shelter for fish and crustaceans in reef habitats and can also structure ecosystems through bioerosion, water filtration, and colonization of coral reef areas. This publication considers the effects of OA on marine sponges, with a focus on Florida’s coral reef.  Critical Issue: 3. Natural Resources and Environmental Quality

Living Shoreline Ecosystem Service Valuation Tool

SS729/SL516by Ashley R. Smyth, Laura K. Reynolds, Savanna C. Barry, Natalie C. Stephens, Joshua T. Patterson, and Edward V. CampMay 8, 2024Living shorelines are an increasingly popular way to protect and stabilize waterfronts for coastal property owners. Living shorelines provide valuable benefits to humans, including water quality improvement, habitat, fisheries, and carbon sequestration. Estimating the economic value of the ecosystem services living shorelines offer is an integral part of management decisions. The living shoreline valuation tool can help quantify the costs and benefits of living shorelines projects. This publication briefly describes the ecosystem services associated with living shorelines. The purpose of this publication is to introduce the ecosystem service valuation tool. Our target audience for the living shoreline evaluation tool includes natural resource extension agents, community organizations, and coastal homeowners who want to calculate the value of ecosystem services provided by coastal restoration projects, including living shorelines. Critical Issue: 3. Natural Resources and Environmental Quality

Climate Change: Effects on Salinity in Florida’s Estuaries and Responses of Oysters, Seagrass, and Other Animal and Plant Life

SG138/SGEF-218 by Ashley R. Smyth, H. Dail Laughinghouse, Laura K. Reynolds, Edward V. Camp, and Karl HavensApril 15, 2024Florida’s economically important estuaries could be heavily impacted by sea-level rise and altered river flow, both caused by climate change. The resulting higher salinity, or saltiness of the water, could harm plants and animals, alter fish, and bird habitat, and reduce the capacity of estuaries to provide such important services as seafood production and the protection of shorelines from erosion. This publication contains information for stakeholders, students, scientists, and environmental agencies interested in understanding how changes in salinity impact Florida’s estuaries.Critical Issue: 3. Natural Resources and Environmental Quality

How Do Oysters Remove Nitrogen?

SS711/SL498by Heather Donnelly, Ashley Smyth, Shirley Baker, Laura Reynolds, and Angela CollinsFebruary 8, 2023Nitrogen is natural and necessary, yet nitrogen levels above natural levels can cause algal blooms and eutrophication of coastal systems. The purpose of this document is to describe how oysters and oyster reefs remove nitrogen. This new 7-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences is intended for policymakers, environmental organizations, and coastal residents who want to know about oysters' role in improving water quality through nitrogen removal. Written by Heather Donnelly, Ashley Smyth, Shirley Baker, Laura Reynolds, and Angela Collins.Critical Issue: 2. Water Quality, Quantity, and Supply

How Ecosystem Services are Measured and Why it Matters for Florida

FA252/FA252by Charles Wallace, Anna Braswell, Mysha Clarke, Andrew Ropicki, Tara Wade, Frank Asche, Ashley Smyth, Armando Ubeda, and Ed CampFebruary 7, 2023Florida has many ecosystems that are thought of as especially important such as springs, coasts, dry prairies, and the Everglades. One of the ways importance is measured is through value. The term ecosystem services describes the benefits ecosystems and their components provide humans. This publication describes some of the ways to measure ecosystem services and explains how the different approaches to assess ecosystems might be selected, depending on what is most important to the user. This publication should help Extension and outreach agents, as well as agency personnel better understand ecosystem services values and explain them to the public. It should also help interested members of the public who wish to learn more about ecosystem services for themselves. Critical Issue: 3. Natural Resources and Environmental Quality