Big Bend Science Symposium puts research on public view

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Scientists on Florida’s Big Bend coastline spend their careers studying local ecosystems and finding solutions to challenges such as oyster reef decline or the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Feb 1 to 3, the second annual Big Bend Science Symposium will hold an open forum where the public can meet these scientists and learn about their discoveries and projects.

“The goal of the symposium is to communicate the latest science being done in the Big Bend region and to give visitors a chance to engage directly with scientists,” said Mendy Allen, program coordinator for the Nature Coast Biological Station, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Symposium scientists will represent several universities, including the University of Florida, state and federal agencies, and conservation groups.

Oral presentations will begin Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. at the Cedar Key Community Center located at 809 6th Street, Cedar Key, FL 32625. All presenters registered with the symposium may attend.

Felicia Coleman, director of the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, will deliver a keynote presentation titled “The Curse of Too Much Knowledge,” at the community center on Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. Coleman’s talk will address how scientists can better communicate scientific ideas to non-scientists and why effective science communication is increasingly important.

Coleman’s presentation will be followed by a series of talks on Big Bend research, Allen said.

Later that day, members of the public are invited to tour a gallery of poster displays from 5 to 7 p.m. at seafood restaurant 83 West, located at 310 Dock Street, Cedar Key, FL 32625. Posters will cover a variety of statewide and local issues, including lionfish control, seagrass health and manatee habitat.

The keynote presentation and poster displays are free and open to the public. Nature Coast area residents can register here.

On Feb. 3, eleventh- and twelfth-graders from the Nature Coast and Alachua County will visit with symposium scientists to get a firsthand look at their research.

To learn more about the event, please visit the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station news page.

The Big Bend Science Symposium is made possible through a partnership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges, UF/IFAS soil and water sciences department, UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation, UF/IFAS department of wildlife ecology and conservation, Florida Climate Institute, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, U.S Geological Survey and UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station.

Caption: Poster presentations will cover a variety of statewide and local issues, including lionfish control, seagrass health and manatee habitat. Photo courtesy of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station.


The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.


Posted: January 11, 2017

Category: Agriculture, Conservation, Invasive Species, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Research

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