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National Estuarine Research Reserves - Apalachicola

Oyster Research at ANERR

Researching Oysters for the Economy and for the Environment
Apalachicola Bay is known for delicious oysters, but did you know that these oysters grow more quickly than oysters anywhere else in the United States? It takes Apalachicola oysters about 18 months to grow to legal size, about half the time it takes oysters in Chesapeake Bay to grow to an equivalent size.

Coastal Shorebird Monitoring at ANERR

The relatively undisturbed miles of Gulf beach and dunes of the barrier islands provide essential habitats for a number of endangered and rare birds. Since 1985, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) has concentrated most of its avian management efforts on several listed species, including least terns, black skimmers and American oystercatchers, which utilize habitats within the Reserve for breeding and nesting. The Research Section's annual nesting shorebird survey is concentrated in two areas within ANERR -  "Bird Island" and the St. George Island Bridge Causeway.

Sea Turtle Monitoring at ANERR

The beaches of northwest Florida provide excellent habitat for nesting sea turtles,. The barrier island beaches in the Apalachicola area support some of the densest concentrations of nesting loggerhead sea turtles in northwest Florida. The loggerhead is the most common turtle to nest in this area. There have been occasional reports of green sea turtles nesting on northwest Florida beaches and even rarer occurrences of leatherback nests.

Trawling Surveys at ANERR

Historically, Apalachicola Bay has been a nursery habitat for several commercially and recreationally important fish and invertebrate species. Recently, concerns over the reallocation of upstream waters from the Apalachicola River has led scientists to evaluate the biomass and abundance of various plant, invertebrate and vertebrate species from within the river, bay and surrounding lands. This study, begun in July 2000, attempts to recreate a trawling program during the 1970s. The goals are to:

Ecosystem Science Programs at ANERR

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) has developed research priorities based on specific threats that currently confront ANERR and the Apalachicola River and Bay system. The two main threats to the bay system and their potential impacts are the upstream diversion of fresh water and increasing local coastal development and land use changes. Developing a research plan for the ANERR represents an especially daunting task due to the size of the Apalachicola River and Bay, as well as the diversity of species and habitats present.

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