Research for a Brighter Tomorrow

Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards support multiple types of research, all of which advance the scientific understanding of coastal and marine environments.

We provide research grants to students pursuing graduate degrees in marine biology, ocean engineering, and other related fields at major Florida universities. We also provide grants to non-profit research institutions to further study marine life and coastal habitats.

We also underwrite staff studies performed at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, including tagging and tracking of rehabilitated sea turtles.

Each year, we also invest over $50,000 towards scientific inquiry towards sharks, corals, rays, turtles, ocean currents, and various other marine areas of concern.

These research initiatives would not be possible without support from our treasured Coastal Stewards, including individual memberships, family foundations, our corporate partners, and proceeds from various fundraising efforts.

Grant-Funded Research

Our own Victoria Garefino led this study in collaboration with Sarah L. Milton and Florida Atlantic University.

The advent of this study arose from rehab staff identifying suppressed vitamin D levels in turtles suffering from Fibropapillomatosis tumors. Research indicates promising results for sunlight therapy as an additional treatment option for turtles suffering from FP

Martina Plafcan & Christopher Stallings led this research at the University of South Florida.

While the catastrophic impacts of microplastics are just beginning to be understood, this study aimed to identify whether microplastics contributed to the death and bleaching of our local coral reefs at an ecologically relevant concentration.

At the time of the study, researchers concluded that current levels of microplastic concentration are unlikely to contribute to the death of our reefs at this time. All the more reason to refuse plastic use and ensure healthy reefs for future generations of marine life and humans alike.

Aaron Ridall led this research at Florida State University.

This study examined wastewater treatment plant’s contributions to coastal microplastic pollution in several waterways around Panama City Beach. While one could expect wastewater facilities to contribute to microplastic pollution, Aaron discovered this abundance was an entire order of magnitude greater than his pristine “control” waterway. This research is crucial to understand our approaches to coastal management, as we balance the ever delicate line between modern conveniences and marine conservation.