In his presentation, Dr. Lorenz pulls together Audubon’s 80+ year record on spoonbill nesting patterns in Florida Bay with his personal experience in studying the fish on which spoonbills feed, thereby constructing a story of how the human population explosion in southern Florida has had a multilevel effect on spoonbills. During the development boom, seemingly unrelated events serially reduced the spoonbill’s foraging habitats in domino like fashion resulting in a dramatic decline in spoonbill nesting success that continues today. Dr. Lorenz demonstrates how the destruction of wetlands for urban and agricultural use have not only endangered spoonbills, but myriad other creatures and entire ecosystems. Ecosystems that drive our tourist based economy. Most recently, the work has focused on their response to increasing water levels in Florida Bay caused by sea level rise. Like the canary in a coal mine, Roseate Spoonbills are letting us know that there is something drastically wrong with our environment and that continued runaway development will not only ruin our remaining wildness areas but our lifestyles as well.
Jerry Lorenz received a BS in biology from Northern Kentucky University in 1987 and a Masters Degree in Zoology from Miami University (Oxford, OH) in 1990. Since 1989 Jerry has been a staff scientist for the Audubon Society and has been primary investigator of the National Audubon’s Florida Bay Estuarine Research Project since 1992. This project focuses on the impact of water management in the southern Everglades on the coastal ecosystems of Florida Bay. Specifically, the project examines the linkages between fresh water deliveries from the Everglades, the abundance of aquatic plants and prey fishes and the success of nesting Roseate Spoonbills. In August 2000, Jerry received a Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. His dissertation was awarded the Smith Prize for the most outstanding dissertation of the year by the Rosenstiel faculty. Upon completion of his Ph.D. Jerry became Research Director at Audubon of Florida's Tavernier Science Center. In 2005, he became the state research director for Audubon of Florida. He serves as a member of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and is a founding member of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Resources Council.
About REEF Fish & Friends
REEF Fish & Friends is a free, monthly seminar series that features engaging ocean-themed presentations from guest speakers. Snorkelers, divers, and marine life enthusiasts are invited to join informal discussions and mingle with members of our friendly, ocean-minded community. Complimentary appetizers and refreshments are provided. The evening kicks off with a social starting at 6:15pm, and the presentation begins at 7pm.