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The Biscayne Bay Health project — a collaboration of Institute of Environment faculty and local governments and organizations — supports research, educational outreach, and community programming to promote the protection and preservation of our beloved bay and the local economy it bolsters.

Through Institute research, we’ve identified some of the factors leading to the degredation of our local Biscayne Bay. In collaboration with our partners, we’re implementing solutions to improve the resilience and sustainability of our beautiful bay.

Our vision of the future includes new research-inspired tools for assessing pollution while also improving how we evaluate the toxic effects on plants, animals and people.

This year, the Institute has reignited our partnership with the Biscayne Bay Marine Health Summit Coalition in an effort  to implement a “Post Summit Plan of Action” focused on advocacy, communication and education. This partnership will advance Biscayne Bay restoration and preservation initiatives, bolstering stakeholder and community efforts to protect the landmark waterway to address threats.

Biscayne Bay Expertise

  • Water Quality Monitoring

    Historically, Dr. Henry Briceno has concentrated on water quality across south Florida including the Everglades, Biscayne Bay, Tampa Bay and the Florida Keys. He is working to understand what our water quality will look like in the future if we continue on the current path of climate change. Over the last 15 years, he has classified the Florida coastal waters into 42 groups of water quality types.

    He uses this information to work with policy makers and alert members of the community to current and future water supply threats. He is collaborating to help implement research based policies.

  • Research Buoys

    Our Center for Aquatic Chemistry and Environment (CAChE) uses cutting-edge technology through research buoys – specially designed to be deployed in both shallow freshwater ecosystems and near-shore marine environments. Each buoy features an array of high-tech sensors used to collect data on general water quality for analysis.

    In response to the ongoing red tide outbreak, our team has deployed three buoys across south Florida which monitor water quality through regular measurements. At the same time, the buoys record directional flow rates to get a sense of where potential outbreaks may be coming from and where they may be headed as frequently as every five minutes. All data collected is updated online every hour and is available for public viewing. 

  • Seagrass Health

    Led by international Blue Carbon expert, Dr. James Fourqurean, our FIU Seagrass Ecosystems Research Lab works with the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve (BBAP) on their seagrass monitoring program for portions of Biscayne Bay. The monitoring program was developed to understand the current status and condition of seagrass and macroalgae communities within the bay, which has recently experienced die-offs.

    Dr. Bryan Dewsbury, who earned his PhD working in the FIU Seagrass Ecosystems Research Lab, completed portions of his dissertation research in Biscayne Bay. His research focused on the development of a predictive model to explain the effect of changing water quality (nutrients and salinity) on seagrass and macroalgae communities within the bay.

    Future work with BBAP include to experimentally test causes of seagrass die-off, which will help to better inform management and restoration efforts in the Bay.

  • Coastal Wetland Ecosystem

    Dr. Tiffany Troxler has focused her research on coastal wetland ecosystem dynamics and global environmental change. She has monitored the water quality of waterways with mixed urban and natural influences to understand the role of the land based sources of nutrients to the overall health of Biscayne Bay. She uses her findings to work with stakeholders to develop solutions that aid in solving current-day flooding issues.

    Troxler sits on the Miami-Dade County’s Biscayne Bay Task Force where she works with the County to implement policies to address environmental issues in the bay.

  • Bottlenose Dolphins

    Dr. Jeremy Kiszka and other scientists are examining the lives of Biscayne Bay’s resident dolphins. Little is known about how local bottlenose dolphins are affected by development, dredging, storm pump rerouting, seagrass die-offs and extreme climatic events. Researchers have partnered with NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center to investigate how dolphins respond to disturbances and environmental changes.

    By assessing where dolphins and their prey are found in the bay and how they behave relative to environmental factors, we’re working to improve our understanding of these dolphins’ resilience in the face of habitat degradation.

Biscayne Bay Marine Health - The Action Summit

Representatives from governments, businesses, NGOs and academia met on FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus in September 2019 to initiate an action plan to restore and maintain the health of the bay and Miami-Dade County's canals and rivers.

Support the Project

By supporting Biscayne Bay Health, you will join hands with the community in responding to the challenges these waters are facing. The project supports an annual summit to share valuable information on the impact of Biscayne Bay's overall health on the local ecosystem — the people, wildlife and waters around us.

Funds will directly support the protection and amelioration of Biscayne Bay through collaborative efforts. Questions? Please contact the Advancement team.