Seahorse Key lighthouse

Seahorse Key Marine Lab moves to cross-campus management

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Santa Fe College have teamed up to manage the Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory, an off-shore facility in the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.

“This collaboration across our campus and between UF and Santa Fe College will increase our capacity for research, Extension and teaching on the Nature Coast,” said Micheal Allen, director of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station, a research unit located in Cedar Key, Florida. “Our combined efforts will enhance UF’s impact on the local community and its natural resources.”

Seahorse Key is home to a laboratory, marine specimen collection and a pre-Civil War era lighthouse, which has a bunkhouse with 26 beds for overnight stays. The island is also a field site for snake and bird research, Allen said.

“Seahorse Key is three miles from the island of Cedar Key, so it’s relatively remote. This natural, rustic environment provides a unique educational experience for school groups and visiting college students,” said Allen. “On the other hand, the Nature Coast Biological Station will provide on-shore, modern amenities and equipment for marine research and teaching. Together, the two facilities will offer the best of both worlds.”

Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory continues to welcome UF and Santa Fe College faculty and students, as well as people from all Florida and out-of-state institutions, said Allen.

UF/IFAS is outlining ways to improve and update the island’s operations, Allen said. There are plans to bring Internet service to the facility, upgrade the laboratory and switch the island’s power source from propane to solar power, he said.

By: Samantha Grenrock, 352-294-3307, grenrosa@ufl.edu

Source: Micheal Allen, 352-273-3624, msal@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones