IRLO Director: M. Dennis Hanisak, Ph.D.Project Team: IRLON Manager Kristen Davis; IRLON Technical Coordinator Jon Richardson; Water Quality Analyst Sara Ouly; Data Analyst Bryan Botson; Biological Scientists Patrick Monaghan, and John Hart; Mechanical Engineer Ben Metzger; Lab Assistant Emily Davidson; Research Machinists Dave Bourdette and Jeff Smith
The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is a unique, highly diverse, shallow-water estuary of national significance, stretching along 156 miles, or 40 percent of Florida’s east coast. The IRL’s economic value to Florida is estimated to be nearly $4 billion per year. Urbanization, excessive freshwater releases, degradation of water quality, contaminant loading, loss of habitat (e.g., seagrasses, mangroves), harmful algal blooms, decline of fisheries, and emerging diseases in marine mammals and other biota are increasingly important issues in the IRL, as they are throughout the world’s estuaries and coastal waters.
The Indian River Lagoon Observatory (IRLO), based at FAU Harbor Branch in Fort Pierce, Florida, is investigating the IRL’s plants, animals, and environment, and how natural and human-induced stressors impact them. The goal of IRLO is to acquire and disseminate data and knowledge on the IRL critical to its ecological function and its sustainable management.
Essential elements of IRLO are: