In this Issue:
  • Our Magnificent Miner; the gopher tortoise
  • An Intimidating Fish They Call the Stingray
  • The Crown Conch – A Slow Predator of the Estuary
  • Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, what can you do to help? Biodiversity
  • Which Local Creatures Eat Venomous Snakes?
  • Two Manatees in Two Weeks
  • Cold Stunned Marine Life
  • Exploring the Gulf of Mexico: Phytoplankton Part 2
  • The Marshes, they are a-changin’
  • In Search of Horseshoe Crabs
  • Coastal Wildlife

    Our Magnificent Miner; the gopher tortoise

    Just a decade ago, few people would have known what a gopher tortoise was and would have hard time finding one. But today, because of the protection they have been afforded by the state, they are becoming more common.  This is certainly an animal you might see visiting one of our state parks. The gopher …

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    An Intimidating Fish They Call the Stingray

    It is now late May and in recent weeks I, and several volunteers, have been surveying the area for terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and monitoring local seagrass beds. We see many creatures when we are out and about; one that has been quite common all over the bay has been the “stingray”. These are intimidating creatures… …

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    The Crown Conch – A Slow Predator of the Estuary

    In recent weeks, volunteers and I have been surveying local estuaries counting terrapins, horseshoe crabs, and monitoring seagrass. One animal that has been very visible during these surveys is the relatively large snail known as the crown conch (Melongena corona).  Its shell is often found with a striped hermit crab living within, but it is …

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    Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, what can you do to help? Biodiversity

    Records of the variety of aquatic life in Pensacola Bay go back to the 18th century.  According to these reports, over 1400 species of plants and animals call Pensacola Bay home.  Many of them depend on seagrass, oyster reefs, or marshes to complete their life cycle.  The greatest diversity and abundance are found on the …

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    Which Local Creatures Eat Venomous Snakes?

    In my job, I get many calls about snakes. Most people want to know how to tell a venomous from a nonvenomous one and how to keep them out of the yard.  I was recently reading a new book out by Dr. Sean Graham entitled American Snakes and in the chapter on snake defenses, he …

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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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    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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    Exploring the Gulf of Mexico: Phytoplankton Part 2

    In the last article, we discussed what phytoplankton are, what their needs were, and their importance to marine life throughout the Gulf and coastal estuaries. In this article, we will discuss the different types of phytoplankton found in our waters. Marine scientists interested in the diversity and abundance of phytoplankton will typically sample using a …

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    The Marshes, they are a-changin’

    Discovering something new is possibly the most exciting thing a field biologist can do. As students, budding biologists imagine coming across something no one else has ever noticed before, maybe even getting the opportunity to name a new bird, fish, or plant after themselves. Well, here in Pensacola, we are discovering something that, while already …

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    In Search of Horseshoe Crabs

    Back in the spring, I wrote an article about the natural history of this ancient animal. However, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is interested in the status of horseshoe crabs and they need to know locations where they are breeding – and Florida Sea Grant is trying to help. If you are not …

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