NAPLES – Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has received $10,000 from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to support a graduate student to complement existing shark research underway by reserve staff and volunteers.
Fisheries and shark nursery assessment programs have been underway at the reserve for nearly 15 years. The results from this long-term study help scientists understand how sharks and other fish respond to changes in quality, quantity and timing of freshwater delivery to the estuary.
“We are very excited to offer this opportunity to a student wishing to advance our collective knowledge of shark populations in the estuaries within Rookery Bay Reserve,” said Gary Lytton, the reserve’s director. “Over time, the reserve has worked with several programs, including NOAA’s Graduate Research Fellowship program, to develop our fellowship program and conduct several key research projects.”
According to Lytton, graduate student research is an excellent opportunity to establish and enhance collaborative partnerships with university professors, state and federal agencies, independent research institutions and non-profit organizations.
“We are thrilled to continue our support of the Rookery Bay Reserve with this donation,” says Guy Harvey. “Getting students out on the water is key to fostering future stewards of our marine resources.”
Supporting graduate research directly helps the reserve meet its mission in several ways. Most directly, the students’ contribution to the body of scientific knowledge produced within the reserve can aid in resource management decisions. Additionally, the program encourages the education of future scientists; this program will result in submission of peer-reviewed scientific publications, conference presentations, public outreach events and inter-agency collaboration.
Rookery Bay Reserve, managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office in cooperation with NOAA, encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park. Rookery Bay Reserve serves as an outdoor classroom and laboratory. For more information visit www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal or www.rookerybay.org.