Monthly Archive: February 2018

NISAW 2018: Where are we on the Management of Lionfish?

Since the first lionfish was spotted off Pensacola in 2010, panhandle organizations have been busy trying to control the spread of this invasive species. The story is well known to many… the lionfish is a voracious predator, consuming at least 70 different species of small reef fish, including vermillion snapper.  They reproduce frequently, producing an …

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NISAW 2018: Successful Feral Hog Management

Despite efforts by public and private land managers, feral hog populations continue to rise in many areas in Florida. Feral hogs damage crop fields, lawns, wetlands, and forests.  They can negatively impact native species of plants and animals.  Their rooting leads to erosion and decreased water quality. There are several options for controlling feral hogs. …

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NISAW 2018: Channeled Apple Snails (Pomacea canaliculata)

When you think of snails, you probably aren’t thinking about scary monsters that have been unleashed to terrorize us all. I’m here to warn you that you should. The channeled apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) is a known agricultural pest that competes with native snail species. In our area (panhandle Florida, Hurlburt Field to be exact) …

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NISAW 2018: A lovely but troublesome tree, Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)

All along the roadsides and in home landscapes in summer, a profusion of fluffy pink blossoms are adorning trees known as mimosa, or Albizia julibrissin. This native of China was introduced to home landscapes in this country in the 1700’s to enjoy the fragrant, showy flowers and fine, lacy foliage. However, there is a dark …

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Tree Privet (Ligustrum lucidum)

Keep your eyes open for this Category 1 FLEPPC invader. When the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council deems a plant a Category 1, it means that the plant is capable of altering native ecosystems by displacing native species. Other common names for this Ligustrum include glossy privet and wax-leaf ligustrum, which are fitting descriptions of …

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There is a Need to Report Invasive Species

The topic of invasive species has been with Floridians for decades. Stories of large pythons, exotic lizards, and crazy ants have been coming out of south Florida for years. Brazilian Pepper, Australian Pine, and Melaleuca are just three species of trees that have invaded the Everglades and other south Florida ecosystems. Though we are having …

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Two Manatees in Two Weeks

As a young boy growing up here in the panhandle, I had heard of this thing called a manatee – but had never seen one. They came more into the light when I was a teenager and becoming interested in marine biology.  I was the president of the high school marine biology club and one …

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Wild Versus Farmed

I have been involved in the aquaculture industry since the late 1980’s when I got my first job out of college on a tropical fish farm in Plant City, FL. As you can imagine, the industry has changed a lot since then.  When folks find out I have worked in aquaculture, the same question seems …

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Aliens are invading – NISAW 2018

Aliens are invading our forests, pastures, fields and lawns. Well, okay, it’s not aliens but it is invasive species.  Invasive species are non-native or exotic species that do not naturally occur in an area, cause economic or environmental harm, or negatively impact human health.  These invasive species have become the number one threat to biodiversity …

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Cold Stunned Marine Life

Man what a winter! Between multiple days below freezing, tough traveling, and the flu it has been a brutal winter season so far. It is not that different for some of our marine wildlife friends. The low temperatures have driven marine water temperatures down as well, particularly in the shallow areas.   There have been many …

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