The magnicent resources of the state of Florida supportnumerous multi-billion dollar industries that form thefoundation of our state’s economy. Our world-renowned beaches,spectacular variety of sh and wildlife, diverse habitats, andnavigable waters attract businesses and visitors alike. Thereis no mistaking the fact that economic prosperity, quality of life for Floridians, and the satisfaction of our many visitors areall dependent on a healthy environment. Florida’s ecosystemssupport shing and hunting, nature viewing, and otherrecreational and commercial activities easily exceeding $20billion in value annually.Despite the natural wonders surrounding us in Florida,too many people view the natural world as somehow separatefrom their everyday life. This is especially true for youngpeople, many of whom are less connected to the outdoorsthan in previous generations. The Florida Fish and WildlifeConservation Commission (FWC) operates under the reality thatpeople are a part of our ecosystems, not separate from them. Asone of the most rapidly growing states in the nation, Floridafaces many environmental challenges in the years ahead andit is critical that managers adopt forward-looking, informedmanagement policies to protect critical resources and balancecompeting demands for limited resources. These managementdecisions must be driven by sound scientic information.Planning and conducting research to provide this informationis the core of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s (FWRI)mission. As the research division within FWC, FWRI operatesprograms statewide that focus on obtaining the wide-rangingdata and information needed by sh, wildlife, and ecosystemresource managers. We have established many collaborativepartnerships with other government, academic, non-prot, andprivate sh and wildlife research institutions. Our programsare diversely funded from user fees such as hunting and shinglicenses, specialty license plates, grants, and state generalrevenue and are organized to rapidly provide the vital scienticinformation necessary to conserve and protect Florida’s preciousnatural resources.This annual science programs document provides anoverview of our major programs and is intended to presentreaders with an enhanced understanding of the scope andpurpose of the technical information we produce. This summarydocument cannot convey the details of each project within ourprograms. Additional information is available on our Web site.Thank you for your interest in FWRI and the health of Florida’s resources. I assure you that FWRI will continue tofocus on the most pressing needs relative to our resources. Weencourage you to become an active participant with us in thewise management of our sh and wildlife and their habitats andencourage you to provide us with issues, concerns, and commentsrelated to our programs and our mission.
Gil McRae, Director
FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute