UF Studies Advance Thanks To Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund

Chris Brazda (352) 392-1633

GAINESVILLE—University of Florida conservation and wildlife programs received a boost this summer from the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund: more than $142,000 for eight different research projects in the UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The projects cover a wide range of ecosystems and plant, aquatic and wildlife species throughout the world. The eight projects are in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and the Southwest Research and Education Center in Immokalee.

Wildlife Ecology & Conservation

  • Matrix Permeability and Use of Vegetated Corridors by Forest Dwelling Birds of South-Temperate Rainforests
  • Nutritional Landscape Ecology of Samoan Fruit Bats
  • Conservation of Burrowing Owls in Argentina
  • The Ecology of the Leopard in Satpura National Park

Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences

  • Using Fin Rays as an Alternative Aging Method for Protected Marine Fish Species
  • Benthic Mapping and Monitoring of Corals and Reef Fishes in Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Assessment of Grouper and Snapper Populations at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

Southwest Research & Education Center

  • Behavior and Ecology of Coyotes, Florida’s Newest Carnivore

“We’re delighted that Disney is supporting conservation research,” said Nat Frazer, chairman of UF’s department of wildlife ecology and conservation. “These projects represent an important partnership between the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and the UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.”

He said they’re even more important for the corals, fishes, birds, bats, coyotes and leopards themselves. “Unless we increase our knowledge of fish and wildlife species through this kind of research and develop our graduates to lead this charge, we have little hope of conserving the earth’s biodiversity in the 21st century,” Frazer said.

“It’s exciting to see these two great Florida institutions joining forces to advance conservation — in Florida, in the Western Hemisphere, in Asia and even in the Pacific Islands,” he said.

Kim Sams, manager of Conservation Initiatives at Walt Disney World Co., said the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund has been a consistent funding source for UF conservation and wildlife projects. The Disney awards are part of the company’s commitment to support conservation efforts around the globe.

“The University of Florida submitted several impressive studies for consideration by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, and the projects we selected are very exciting. We are delighted to be part of such meaningful work for wildlife,” said Sams. Nearly $250,000 has been directed to UF conservation projects over the past three years.