Rick O'Connor

Author's details

Name: Rick O'Connor
Date registered: April 27, 2012


Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Latest posts

  1. What’s Up With the Rattlesnakes? — September 28, 2018
  2. Who is the Creature That Causes Red Tide: Information on Karenia brevis — September 21, 2018
  3. Nature Notes – The Blue Crab — September 2, 2018
  4. Our “Seahawk”; the Osprey — August 17, 2018
  5. Florida’s Water Quality Woes — August 17, 2018

Author's posts listings

What’s Up With the Rattlesnakes?

In the past week, three eastern diamondback rattlesnakes were encountered near the Ft. Pickens area on Pensacola Beach. The first was at a condominium unit near the park gate where construction work was occurring, the second was found swimming in the surf of the Gulf of Mexico within the national seashore, and the third was …

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Who is the Creature That Causes Red Tide: Information on Karenia brevis

When I was in high school we were required to take a semester of communism during our senior year – the idea was to “know the enemy”. That is what we plan to do here… But, the enemy is a microscopic plant.   Its name is Karenia brevis.  It is one of about 10 species …

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Nature Notes – The Blue Crab

Most kids who grew up on the Gulf Coast grew up catching blue crabs. These animals are common along our shorelines, relatively easy to catch, and adventurous because they may bite you.  I caught my first one in 1965 and we proudly displayed the boiled shell over the kitchen bar for many years.  This is …

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Our “Seahawk”; the Osprey

As a kid growing up here along the Gulf Coast, I had never heard of an osprey. Now, there is at least one mating pair on almost every body of water in the Pensacola Bay area.  Where did this once unknown bird come from? How has it successfully colonized our coastal waterways? The osprey, like …

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Florida’s Water Quality Woes

Being in the panhandle of Florida you may, or may not, have heard about the water quality issues hindering the southern part of the state. Water discharged from Lake Okeechobee is full of nutrients.  These nutrients are coming from agriculture, unmaintained septic tanks, and developed landscaping – among other things.  The discharges that head east …

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After Shark Week; What Visitors Should Know About Sharks

In recent weeks, the country has heard about shark attacks off the Carolina coast and great whites off the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico – then of course, we just completed “Shark Week”. This sometimes makes visitors to our beaches a bit unnerved about swimming.  Each year we hear about how other activities …

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Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – Fecal Bacteria

Of all the issues facing our local estuaries, high levels of fecal bacteria is the one that hinders commercial and recreational use the most. When bacteria levels increase and health advisories are issued, people become leery of swimming, paddling, or consuming seafood from these waterways. I have been following the fecal bacteria situation in the …

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Columbus’s Mermaid; the Florida Manatee

The manatee may be one of the more iconic animals in the state of Florida. In Wyoming, we think of bison and bears.  In Florida, we think of alligators and manatees.  However, encountering this marine mammal in the Florida panhandle is a relatively rare occurrence… until recently. For several years now, visitors to Wakulla Springs …

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An Unwanted Invasive Plant; Beach Vitex

This week’s article is a bit different… it is about nature we hope you DO NOT see – but hope you let us know if you do. Most of you know that Florida, along with many other states, continually battle invasive species.  From Burmese pythons, to lionfish, to monitor lizards, we have problems with them …

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Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – Mercury and Public Health

Shrimp, oysters, blue crab and fish have been harvested from the Pensacola Bay System (PBS) for decades, although there has been a decline in all in recent years. Annual landings (in pounds) have ranged from Fish                        66,000 – 4,600,000   (most are scaienids) Brown shrimp    43,000 – 906,000 Oysters                0 – 492,000 Blue crab             400 – …

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