Florida Oceanographic Society

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Florida Oceanographic Society
FounderJames H. Rand and five community leaders.[1]
FocusEducational, Research
2500 [2]
Key people
Mark D. Perry
30 [3]
250+ [4]

Florida Oceanographic Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1964 with the mission to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through education and research.[6]

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center[edit]

Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a 57-acre (23 ha) marine life nature center located on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, Florida, situated between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center offers educational programs and conducts research and restoration programs that lead to healthy coastal ecosystems.


The Florida Oceanographic Society conducts research, monitoring and habitat restoration in South Florida, particularly in the southern portion of the Indian River Lagoon. The Indian River Lagoon is home to more than 4,300 species of plants and animals, including 36 rare and endangered species.[7]

Research programs include the Florida Oceanographic Oyster Restoration program (FLOOR). Found mainly in estuaries, oyster reefs are compromised by human settlement, including development and boating activity. In South Florida, oyster reefs face an additional threat. Discharges from Lake Okeechobee have diluted the salinity levels in estuaries, threatening the survival of oyster reefs.

FLOOR began in 2005 with local citizens volunteering through Florida Oceanographic Society to grow oysters off their private docks. The group grew to over 100 volunteers actively cultivating oysters, and in November 2009, Dr. Vincent Encomio, Research Scientist at Florida Oceanographic, and a team of volunteers began the Oyster Shell Recycling Program.[8] Shells are acquired from local restaurants, quarantined for a minimum of three months, during which time they are composted and free of any potential living contaminant, and packaged in mesh bags for reef building.

Currently, the retail establishments Conchy Joe’s, New England Seafood, Shucker’s, Finz, and Shrimpers actively collect oyster shells, which are picked up weekly by Florida Oceanographic volunteers. Once the shells are prepared for reef building, large groups of volunteers bring the shells by boat to areas deemed suitable for reef building projects. The Indian River Lagoon east of the Roosevelt Bridge is home to several man-made reefs established by Florida Oceanographic. Discharges from the lake are considered prior to reef placement.


Florida Oceanographic Society educates thousands of students from a four-county area (Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties) with on-site programs, outreach curriculum, and on-line activities. The Coastal Center provides a natural learning environment for public and private groups. Centered around marine life and coastal ecosystems, the Coastal Center builds on the skills that promote interpretation, understanding, and conservation of our resources. With easy access to both the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie River, students quickly become aware of local issues and the need to become advocates for environmental stewardship.[9]


  1. ^ "Wiser Earth". Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Wiser Earth". Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Wiser Earth". Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Volunteer". Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  5. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  6. ^ "About us". Florida Oceanographic Society. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Research". Florida Oceanographic Society. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
  8. ^ Scientist honored for oyster bed work, TCPalm October 21, 2010
  9. ^ "Programs". Florida Oceanographic Society. Retrieved 7 September 2011.

External links[edit]