Public Release:  New milestone book documents changes in the south Florida marine ecosystem

Tropical connections: South Florida's marine environment

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

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IMAGE:  "Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, " documents the dramatic changes in south Florida's marine ecosystem over the last few decades. view more

Credit: IAN Press

CAMBRIDGE, MD (July 25, 2012)--If you live, vacation, boat, swim, snorkel, bird watch, or eat shellfish in south Florida, you are "connected" to the south Florida marine habitats. A new book, Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment, documents the dramatic changes in south Florida's marine ecosystem over the last few decades. Published by IAN Press, it is the culmination of an unprecedented effort to assemble a summary of the status and threats to south Florida marine habitats, a unique environment of the United States that is under severe pressure because of activities related to human development.

"South Florida is a beautiful and unique ecosystem with iconic animals and diverse habitats, adjacent to a vibrant megacity," said Dr. Bill Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "This richly illustrated and readable book provides information that will aid the informed management of the resource and allow future generations the opportunity to share and enjoy the beauty and richness of this region."

The human population of south Florida is growing rapidly. Declining water quality, physical damage to coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests, and decreased fish landings are symptoms of increasing impacts by humans to the ecosystem. Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment was assembled to help scientists, students, policymakers, and citizens to understand the complexity and the connectivity between aquatic habitats in south Florida, and to promote wise management in order to restore and maintain the marine ecosystem.

The 473-page milestone book features entries on topics ranging across every aspect of the marine ecosystem, from mangrove forests to coral reefs. Editors Dr. William L. Kruczynski of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pamela J. Fletcher of Florida Sea Grant, liaison to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory brought together more than 160 researchers and managers from a variety of backgrounds to examine the stresses on the structure and function of the south Florida's marine ecosystem.

"We prepared this book to summarize technical information on the south Florida marine ecosystem in a manner that is easy to read and understand," said co-editor Pamela Fletcher. Dr. Bill Kruczynski stated that the book "is intended to further the understanding and appreciation of this diverse and complex ecosystem, correct any misconceptions about facts or ecological processes, and promote conservation and management decisions that are based upon sound, defensible scientific findings"

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The book is available for purchase ($25) or download ($12.50) at IAN Press: http://ian.umces.edu/press/ IAN Press is committed to producing practical user-centered communications that foster a better understanding of science and enable readers to pursue to now opportunities in research, education, and environmental problem solving.

This project was funded in part by the "Protect Our Reefs" specialty license plate. By purchasing a Protect Our Reefs license plate, Florida drivers help protect coral reefs and support coral reef research, conservation and outreach programs throughout the state. For more information, visit www.mote.org/4reef

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science unleashes the power of science to transform the way society understands and manages the environment. By conducting cutting-edge research into today's most pressing environmental problems, we are developing new ideas to help guide our state, nation, and world toward a more environmentally sustainable future through five research centers--the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, the Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, and the Maryland Sea Grant College in College Park. www.umces.edu

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