Biodiversity links to habitat in Florida west coast waters:
   Luiz Barbieri, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Abstract: According to Florida’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, the highest ranked conservation action to abate the threat of incompatible wildlife and fisheries management strategies is to “encourage the transition of fish and wildlife management strategies from a species-level focus to an ecosystem-level focus.” Synthesizing geospatial information with marine life history data is fundamental to developing this ecosystem approach. The GAME (Geospatial Analysis of Marine Ecosystems) project is a collaborative effort among the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Institute of Oceanography, and University of Florida to identify and map physically distinct habitats in Florida waters. However, there is a need to integrate biological data into this physical framework as a first step towards an ecosystem approach. We will build on the efforts of GAME by linking biodiversity and species life history data to these habitats to select appropriate/target invertebrate and finfish species of greatest conservation need (SGCN), establishing the linkages between these species and these habitats, and identifying knowledge gaps. Some expected benefits of this project are:(1) Identify and compile available information on all species that occupy the habitats within the GAME domain. (2) Based upon this information, identify the species that meet the CWCS special concern criteria (both those currently on the CWCS list and others which may need to be added). (3) Define species interactions over temporal and spatial scales. (4) Identify and prioritize current knowledge gaps. To attain these goals, we will hire one full-time research staff position and leverage existing FWRI expertise by having this scientist work interactively with spatial analysts (Whaley and Norris), fisheries biologists (Arnold and Lowerre-Barbieri), and stock assessment scientists (Mahmoudi and Guenther), all of whom are members of the FWRI Ecosystem-Based Management Working Group. Luiz Barbieri will act as a link between the FWRI group and the Division of Marine Fisheries Management to ensure that management has access to this multi-species data. These data will also be made available to Jeffrey Wilcox, Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, Fish Taxa Coordinator. The duties of this position include: literature surveys, database creation and management, and spatial characterization.

Award Matching Funds Total
$97,508.00 $97,508.00 $195,016.00

Year Funded Starting Date Ending Date
2006 6/1/2007 6/30/2010

Location: Charlotte, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties