Manatee County is bordered by two nationally recognized estuaries, and our unique coastal environment supports valuable fisheries and an economically important tourism industry. Increasing population growth and development continue to put pressure upon natural habitats throughout the region. Through a variety of educational programs, research initiatives, and collaborations with local businesses, our faculty communicate relevant, science-based information to meet the needs of our community. Balancing research and conservation with the expanding human population is critical to the preservation of our natural resources.
The Florida Sea Grant Marine Extension Program represents a research-based partnership of universities, agencies, businesses and private citizens working with living marine resources. Florida Sea Grant envisions a future where coastal and marine resources are used to maximize economic and social benefits while preserving their quality and abundance for future generations.
Southwest Florida provides excellent growing conditions for multiple species of bivalves and contributes significantly to Florida's shellfish aquaculture industry. Manatee County is home to multiple shellfish farms and one of the largest shellfish hatcheries in the southeastern US. University of Florida/IFAS Extension and Manatee County support research-based efforts to increase shellfish production in Florida.
The mission of the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) is to promote awareness, understanding, and respect of Florida's natural world among Florida's citizens and visitors. FMNP training will benefit persons interested in learning more about Florida’s environment or wishing to increase their knowledge for use in education programs as volunteers, natural resources employees, ecotourism guides, and others.