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Salty Topics:Unlocking the Secrets of Hard-Bottom Fish Habitat in Tampa Bay

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Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center

1800 Weedon Dr NE

St. Petersburg, Florida 33702

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UF/IFAS Extension, FloridaSea Grant: Salty Topics Marine Research Speaker Series

Hard-bottom habitats such as corals, sponges, limestone ledges and artificial reefs are known to support diverse fish communities in offshore areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Less is known about inshore, hard-bottom habitats in Tampa Bay. A recent study funded by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program attempts to answer research questions about:

  1. The distribution of hard-bottom habitats in Tampa Bay
  2. The fish species that are using these habitats
  3. The temporal and spatial use of these habitats by fish
  4. Quantifying biological productivity of these hard-bottom habitats

In this presentation, you will see some of the usual cast of characters including reef fish (snappers, groupers, seabass, and grunts) and other recreationally targeted species, such as Atlantic Tarpon, Sheepshead, and Common Snook. In addition, a few species rarely collected within the bay have been documented on camera! This ongoing research will help resource managers prioritize habitat conservation and artificial reef enhancement throughout Tampa Bay and surrounding waters.

Speaker Biography: Kerry Flaherty-Walia is the principal investigator for this project funded by the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund and an Associate Research Scientist in the Marine Fisheries Section of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Kerry has a strong ecological background as well as over fifteen years of experience collecting and analyzing fisheries and other associated biological and physical data in estuarine and coastal systems. She has completed several focused studies on fish habitat use and the influence of environmental and anthropogenic disturbances on fish populations and has published papers on Gray Snapper, an estuarine-dependent reef fish.

Light refreshments generously donated from the Friends of Weedon Island (http://fowi.org) will be served prior to the 7 p.m. seminar. Please arrive 15 minutes early to sign in.


Questions or Concerns?

Contact Libby Carnahan

Sea Grant Agent
UF/IFAS Extension, Pinellas County
(727) 453-6522
lcarnahan@pinellascounty.org

UF is an equal opportunity institution.

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Date and Time

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Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center

1800 Weedon Dr NE

St. Petersburg, Florida 33702

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