Opportunities for local (regional) research projects abound. The Vester Field Station is located on the edge of mangrove forests and relatively isolated waterways/backbay waters. Estero Bay, Fish Trap Bay, and Little Hickory Bay are all located within a short boat ride. The Gulf of Mexico is literally “just down the street” and accessible by boat through the estuary and Gulf passes within 15 minutes.
Research by FGCU undergraduate and graduate students and faculty includes: investigating the impact of red tides on marine organisms; examining the interactions between water flows, sediment transport with implications to beach erosion and build-up; effects of freshwater inflows on marine organisms such as larval stages of various bivalves, fish, and crustaceans; refining techniques used in restoration science; examining the role of nutrients in the development of macroalgae and red tides; mapping of aquatic vegetation; examining the roles of contaminants such as copper, mercury, and oil pollution on marine organisms, and the transfer of these chemicals up the food chain; and characterizing the environment before humans arrived in Florida; and assessing how global climate change may play a role in reshaping the coast lines in southwest Florida impact coastal and estuarine environments.