Message From the Director

The magnificent resources of the state of Florida support numerous multi-billion dollar industries that form the foundation of our state’s economy. Our world-renowned beaches, spectacular variety of fish and wildlife, diverse habitats, and navigable waters attract businesses and visitors alike. There is no mistaking the fact that economic prosperity, quality of life for Floridians, and the satisfaction of our many visitors are all dependent on a healthy environment. Florida’s ecosystems support fishing and hunting, nature viewing, and other recreational and commercial activities easily exceeding $20 billion in value annually.

Despite the natural wonders surrounding us in Florida, too many people view the natural world as somehow separate from their everyday life. This is especially true for young people, many of whom are less connected to the outdoors than in previous generations. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) operates under the reality that people are a part of our ecosystems, not separate from them. As one of the most rapidly growing states in the nation, Florida faces many environmental challenges in the years ahead and it is critical that managers adopt forward-looking, informed management policies to protect critical resources and balance competing demands for limited resources. These management decisions must be driven by sound scientific information. Planning and conducting research to provide this information is the core of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s (FWRI) mission.

As the research division within FWC, FWRI operates programs statewide that focus on obtaining the wide-ranging data and information needed by fish, wildlife, and ecosystem resource managers. We have established many collaborative partnerships with other government, academic, non-profit, and private fish and wildlife research institutions. Our programs are diversely funded from user fees such as hunting and fishing licenses, specialty license plates, grants, and state general revenue and are organized to rapidly provide the vital scientific information necessary to conserve and protect Florida’s precious natural resources.

This annual science programs document provides an overview of our major programs and is intended to present readers with an enhanced understanding of the scope and purpose of the technical information we produce. This summary document cannot convey the details of each project within our programs. Additional information is available on our website.

Thank you for your interest in FWRI and the health of Florida’s resources. I assure you that FWRI will continue to focus on the most pressing needs relative to our resources. We encourage you to become an active participant with us in the wise management of our fish and wildlife and their habitats and encourage you to provide us with issues, concerns, and comments related to our programs and our mission.


Gil McRae
Director, FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute