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Focus on Natural Resources

When you talk about Southwest Florida’s natural resources, you can’t not talk about water. Water is our environment.

But Southwest Florida’s natural resources aren’t just water. They’re what water produces and what those products do for us.

Take mangroves away, for example, and we lose storm protection for homes, rookery areas for wading birds and nursery habitat for economically important fish species.

“It’s a beautiful area, but with growth and development, we are putting pressure on the environment,” says Mike Parsons, Ph.D., professor of marine science and director of the Vester Field Station. “So, we need to study it, and we need to do our best to maintain it and manage it. And who better to work on it than local experts where it’s right in their backyard?”

Because of the complexity and interconnectedness of Southwest Florida's water-based natural resources, The Water School's experts come from many disciplines, including marine sciences, economics, chemistry, paleoclimatology and engineering.

Photo of Dr. GregersonA drop of rain falls in central Florida and makes its way down to the coast and out into the estuaries and then to the Gulf. What we’re talking about is a comprehensive approach to water. It’s not just we’re really focused on the Gulf of Mexico, or we’re really focused on Lake Okeechobee, or we’re really focused on the Everglades. It’s a comprehensive approach.”

- Bob Gregerson, Ph.D.,

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences