Office of the Director


The Office of the Director is responsible for managing a budget of over $83,000,000, which supports all programs and operations of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). FWRI’s Director leads the science sections and oversees Institute-wide functions, such as Research Operations, which provides facilities management, finance, communications and human resources support.

More than 700 staff members make up FWRI. FWRI’s headquarters, located in downtown St. Petersburg, is home-base to nearly half of its employees. More than 25 field stations enable other FWRI staff members to be strategically located throughout the state near the resources they study.


Gil McRae,
FWRI Director

Leanne Flewelling,
FWRI Deputy Director

Annual Budget: $11,575,139
Staff: 63

Field Lab Spotlight

  • people on boat catching small manatee with hoop net

    Melbourne Beach Field Lab - East Central Field Station

    FWRI's Melbourne Beach Field Lab is one of the Institute’s 28 field labs located throughout the state and one of 5 field stations in the state that conducts marine mammal response and rescue. The East Central Field Station (ECFL) is located in the Marine Mammal Research Laboratory alongside Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute in Melbourne Beach, Florida. ECFL staff respond to manatees throughout the east central section of Florida from the southern half of Volusia County to Indian River County.