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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Marine sponges may not look like apartment buildings, but to shrimps, juvenile lobsters and other animals in Florida Bay, the puffy filter-feeders provide one of the few safe places to live.
In 2007, harmful algae blooms killed sponges in large tracts of the shallow lagoon, where fresh water draining from the Everglades meets the Gulf of Mexico. University of Florida and Old Dominion University researchers are trying to restore the invertebrates by slicing up healthy sponges, then planting the cuttings in affected areas to grow and reproduce.
The results of the study will lay the groundwork for larger restoration efforts that would boost populations of economically important seafood species that depend on sponges, help the state’s commercial sponge industry and improve water quality, said Don Behringer, a research assistant professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)
Tom Nordlie – (352) 273-3567
Craig Watson – firstname.lastname@example.org, (813) 505-2625
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Spotted green puffer fish seldom reproduce in captivity, but University of Florida experts have created the first commercial breeding method reported in the United States, a move that could benefit the tropical fish industry and genetics researchers.
A UF team investigated the species at the request of producers, who hope to breed some of the estimated quarter million spotted green puffers sold annually to North American hobbyists and researchers, said Craig Watson, director of UF’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)
Mickie Anderson (352) 392-0400
Bill Lindberg email@example.com, 352-392-9617
Jon Dodrill firstname.lastname@example.org, 850-922-4340
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the country’s biggest and longest-running artificial reef research projects is about to widen its scope, and the payoff could be healthier grouper in the Gulf of Mexico, a University of Florida researcher says.
Over the last 17 years, UF researchers have built and placed a 26-mile line of artificial reefs in the Gulf and studied its impact on gag grouper, a popular game and food fish. (more …)
Stu Hutson 352-392-0400
Frank Chapman email@example.com, 352-392-9617, ext. 247, http://fishweb.ifas.ufl.edu/
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mention sturgeon to a Floridian these days, and they might flinch. The armor-plated fish have made news this summer by body-checking boaters, but the animals might soon develop a new reputation — as cash cows.
Sturgeon farmers across the Sunshine State say marketable yields of caviar could begin within the next year. (more …)
Tom Nordlie (352) 392-0400
Craig Watson firstname.lastname@example.org, 813-671-5230
Lauri MacLaughlin email@example.com, 305-852-7717 ext. 27
Ryan Czaja firstname.lastname@example.org, 813-273-4000 ext. 4237
Kathy Kilgore email@example.com, 813-671-5230 ext. 114
Christine Small Christine.Small@MyFWC.com, 850-410-0656 ext. 17285
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Coral might be the slowest-growing crop ever farmed by the University of Florida, but researchers say damaged reefs could be repaired faster if they perfect methods to cultivate the marine organisms.
UF experts are raising seven species of coral at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, and next week they’ll dive to check the progress of farmed corals returned to the wild last year. (more …)