Thrust Areas Ecosystem Water Institute Classification Level
Water, Land Use and Ecosystems Water and Climate Water and Society Water Resources Sustainability Springs Wetlands Watersheds Aquifers Lakes Coastal Zone  Water Institute Classification 1  Water Institute Classification 2  Water Institute Classification 3  Water Institute Classification 4
Ecosystem: Coastal Zones

With more than 1,200 miles of coastline, Florida boasts a broad array of estuarine and coastal waters that provide key resources and ecosystem services that are central to our cultural and economic well being. Coral reefs, seagrass beds, oyster bars, mangrove and marshes provide essential habitat for fish and shellfish that support recreational and commercial fishing industries that generate billions of dollars annually. In addition, these coastal and marine habitats provide shoreline protection which is vital to our coastal communities. In fact, most of Florida’s 18 million residents live within 60 miles of the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. The ecological health and integrity of Florida’s estuarine and coastal waters are threatened by development, degraded water quality, toxic contamination, introduction of invasive species as well as climate related perturbations, e.g., increased frequency and intensity of tropical storms, sea level rise and ocean acidification. Research conducted by faculty affiliated with the Water Institute attempts to address these and other important issues.

Coastal Zones Projects