Research currently conducted by laboratory scientists includes: (1) restoration and functioning of marine, estuarine and near freshwater habitats, (2) understanding the effects of human activities including regulated freshwater discharges on these habitats, (3) analyses of nearshore water quality, and (4) managing the ecological condition of barrier island lakes and the Sanibel River Slough. All research conducted at the lab is enhanced by the River, Estuary, and Coastal Observing Network (RECON), an instrument array composed of eight near real-time sensors deployed at locations throughout the Caloosahatchee Estuary and Pine Island Sound.
Research conducted at the laboratory is driven by critical management questions concerning water quality, estuary health, and the restoration of natural resources. With our research partners, scientific investigation of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge complex and the status of the urbanized Caloosahatchee Estuary is the basis of environmental policy recommendations and fact-based advocacy. Data collected by the Marine Laboratory is also used to better understand the current state of the waters surrounding Sanibel and Captiva and to make informed decisions regarding the future of the estuary.
Click on a project to learn more.
Oyster and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Restoration in the Caloosahatchee Estuary
The goal of this project is to replace critical ecosystem components such as oyster reefs and SAV that were lost by the high volume 2013 discharges to the estuaries.
Ding Darling Water Quality & Seagrass
Since 2009, the SCCF Marine Lab samples water quality within the Refuge. Seagrass responses to regulated discharges are determined using a BACI-design.
The River, Estuary and Coastal Observing Network (RECON)
In 2007, SCCF launched the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network (RECON) project to track changes in water quality from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico.
Sanibel Nutrient Management Plan Development
The SCCF Marine Lab is developing a nutrient management plan with the City of Sanibel aimed at reducing nutrient-rich stormwater runoff and the removal of nutrients.
Macroalgal community dynamics in the Caloosahatchee Estuary and nearshore Gulf of Mexico
The Marine Lab characterizes changes in macroalgal biomass in response to nutrients and salinity associated with large freshwater releases.
Caloosahatchee and Estuary Condition Reports
SCCF provides a weekly Caloosahatchee & Estuary Condition Report to the Jacksonville District Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
SCCF is a Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) member and contributing data partner, providing real-time RECON data for regional analyses.
Brevetoxin Red Tide Project
This project will determine the areal extent of toxic seagrass beds and the time period during which they are toxic caused by accumulation of Red Tide Brevetoxin.
Intern Research Projects
The Marine Laboratory has an active internship program. Here are some of the research projects interns have conducted while at the lab.
Below is a subselection of some of the labs many completed research projects.
Captiva Water Quality
A study of the relationship between Captiva's septic systems , stormwater runoff, and groundwater discharge to near shore water quality.
Restoration of Bay Scallops (Argopectin irradians) in Tarpon Bay and Pine Island Sound
Bay scallop populations in Florida, are comprised of relatively isolated, local populations which comprise a larger meta-population.
Bioavailability and Sources of Nutrients and Linkages to Nuisance Macroalgae
A team of scientists from SCCF, Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), and the University of Miami investigated the linkages between water quality and blooms of macroalgae.
Blind Pass Reopening
Water quality was characterized on both the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound sides of Sanibel and Captiva before and after the opening of the pass.
Ecological & Geographical Extent of Lake Okeechobee Releases
Characterize the optical properties of water from the lake and basin sources and determine whether releases were responsible for light limitation in seagrass.
Identification of Microbes Critical to the Enhancement of Seagrass Restoration
Seagrasses were transplanted to determine whether rhizome associated bacteria were moderating toxic effects from sulfide intrusion.
Repair and Maintenance of Seagrass Meadows
New techniques for restoration of these propeller scars were monitored to determine feasibility of prop scar restoration in Southwest Florida.
Oyster Restoration on Sanibel
By enhancing oyster populations adjacent to seagrass habitats we hope to improve water quality (clarity) and expand shallow fringing seagrass communities.