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Each month, the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute team curates Florida's environmental news with expert insight from scientists and researchers around the state. We hope you enjoy this month's sampling.

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Featured News

How does Florida fit into the global biodiversity crisis?

Roughly one in eight species on the planet face extinction within decades, according to a summary report for policymakers released last month by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 

Scientists say it will take ‘transformative change’ in the way we manage our agriculture, ocean and freshwater resources and urban areas to conserve biodiversity. 

To get an idea of what transformative change looks like, it’s important to see what the top causes of biodiversity loss look like in Florida.  

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Action of the month: prepare for the next storm
This month, TESI coordinator and environmental educator Sadie Mills decided to get prepared for hurricane season, which began on June 1. 

Read her post to learn more about gathering supplies, developing a contact list and preparing for your pet. 
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Climate Responsibility & Natural Hazards

Sea level rise increases frequency of high tide flooding

The Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel recently presented area lawmakers with updated sea level rise projections for the region. The new projections are 12 to 18 inches higher on average than the same group’s 2015 estimates.

This increase in sea level means that it no longer takes a hurricane or bad storm to cause flooding in coastal cities. Today, routine high tides can result in a phenomenon known as nuisance flooding, which can lead to road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and a compromised city infrastructure.

TESI postdoctoral associate Jen Bauer explains why in her blog post.


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Habitats & Biodiversity

Australian Scientists turn to Florida for Guidance on Coral Reef Restoration

Florida is home to the only barrier reef in the continental U.S. and the third largest coral reef in the world, next to the Belize and Great Barrier reefs. In just 40 years, corals have declined in some areas by more than 90%.  

Florida and Caribbean reefs were subjected to bleaching and disease events years before mass bleaching events killed a third of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  For this reason, Florida scientists have had a head start in the ongoing race to save corals from extinction.  

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Coral reefs are in trouble. Here's how you can help

Coral reefs in southeast Florida have an asset value of $8.5 billion, generating $4.4 billion in local sales, $2 billion in local income, and 70,400 full and part-time jobs. 

But warming ocean temperatures, pollution and other stressors have killed more than 90% of certain coral species.

Dalton Hesley, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science who focuses on how coral reefs connect with Florida’s coastal communities, said there are three main ways to contribute to coral reef restoration. Read about them in our blog post.

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Florida's wildlife: 4 animals making headlines this month

Florida is home to nearly 700 vertebrate and more than 30,000 invertebrate animal species. At the same time, 21.3 million people take up residence and 100 million tourists visit the state each year, making human-animal interaction inevitable.  

Sometimes, these interactions make headlines. Here are four Florida animals who have made the news this month. 

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Healthy Waterways

Science on Tap: Secrets of Seagrass

On June 13, we hosted Science on Tap: Secrets of Seagrass in collaboration with the Florida Museum. Savanna Barry, UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant agent with the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station, discussed the benefits of seagrasses, their biggest threats and what we can do to preserve and protect these important habitats. 

Watch the recorded presentation at the links below. 

5 Reasons to Get Involved in Your Local Water management district

Through planning, permitting and restoration projects, the five districts use science to make decisions that will ensure a long-term supply of drinking water and protect and restore the health of our state’s water bodies.

The districts also rely on public feedback from residents who value their waterways.

Read our blog post to learn about 5 reasons to get involved with your regional water management district.

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Earth Systems & the Economy

Red Tide is Expensive. here's why

Red tides not only wreak havoc on our natural ecosystems, they also put a dent in Florida’s pocketbook.

Scientists and economists have been studying the economic impacts of harmful algal blooms like red tide for decades.

We had the chance to interview Chuck Adams, marine economics specialist with Florida Sea Grant, about why these harmful algal blooms place such a burden on Florida’s economy. Read more in our blog post. 

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Learning Opportunities

Visit our learning opportunities calendar for a sampling of free and inexpensive environmental learning opportunities around Florida.

Every Friday, we also publish a weekly sampling of these opportunities on our Facebook page.
Learning Opportunities Around Florida
Do you have a learning opportunity for us to include in our newsletter? Email to let us know!


About the Institute

Started in 2018, the mission of the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute is to advance communication and public understanding of current research discoveries about Earth’s natural systems — air, water, land and life — in Florida, and beyond. 
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