Written by 2022 Summer Intern Jessie Moses, hosted by Savanna Barry (UF/IFAS NCBS)
Sci-Comm for Floridians and beyond
As an intern this summer, I got to work with Dr. Savanna Barry creating marine and coastal science communications products to promote environmental protection and stewardship.
More specifically, I created an interactive article via ArcGIS StoryMaps describing the current issues seagrass meadows face. In Crystal River, Savanna, Trisha Green with the Department of Environmental Protection, and Jamie Hammond with the University of Florida introduced me to water quality sampling for physical and chemical parameters and seagrass surveying. Through my research, Savanna’s expertise, and this field experience, I learned so much about seagrass and its importance in marine ecosystems. Seagrasses provide habitat and food for other marine organisms, including the fish and shellfish species crucial for Florida’s fishing industries and economy. Besides these ecosystem functions, seagrasses provide wave protection, improve water quality, and sequester carbon!
Cedar Key has several living shoreline projects, and I created virtual 360 tours for anyone outside the small town to discover. These are coastal erosion management methods that mimic or recreate natural habitats to reduce wave energy and accumulate sediment. I explored the living shoreline projects at Joe Rains Beach, Airport Road, and G Street in Cedar Key and shadowed Dr. Mark Clark and his team. By doing so, I gathered important background information and scientific insight into this coastal erosion management strategy. It was my first time using a GoPro and a 360 camera to capture images and videos of the shoreline, and I have the accidental fisheye selfies to prove it. Mark’s team also let me participate in vegetation and elevation surveying and minnow and species monitoring along the three shorelines!
Check out the products!
Learn about seagrass meadows in Florida and how you can play a role in protecting them from physical damage.
Discover the living shorelines of G Street and Airport Road.
After this internship, I hope to gain more experience in fieldwork and continue improving my science communication skills in marine and coastal communities. I want to thank Savanna and every other individual I had the pleasure of working with and learning from these last few months! It was a wonderful experience, and I have so many newfound interests and topics I’m excited to explore in the future.