UM Scientists Awarded Florida RESTORE Act Program Grants

UM Rosenstiel School studies will help guide management and restoration efforts

MIAMI – Researchers at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science were awarded $580,000 from the Florida RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies) Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program. The research effort will help guide management and restoration decisions in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Jerald Ault was awarded $295,000 to identify reliable biological and economic indicators of sustainability for Florida’s multi-billion dollar recreational fishing industry that improve the basis for stock assessments.  Ault and his research team, which includes UM Associate Scientist Steven Smith and NOAA’s Bob Leeworthy, Chief Economist with the National Marine Sanctuary Program, will develop a suite of biological indicators of stock status and sustainability using existing recreational catch, effort, and abundance data from state-federal databases and design and implement an economic survey to improve estimates of the value of ecosystem goods and services of Florida Gulf coast recreational fisheries. Ault is a professor of marine ecosystems and society and director of the UM Tarpon and Bonefish Research Center.

UM Rosenstiel Professor Elizabeth Babcock and Arnaud Gruss post-doctorate scholar at the UM Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies were awarded $285,000 to develop new methods to improve ecosystem management models. The team, which includes researchers from Nova Southeastern University and University of South Florida, will use survey and satellite remote-sensing data to improve ecosystem models that are used to inform management and restoration efforts. The project aims to understand how to sustain living resources, and can be used to guide restoration decisions made after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Babcock is an associate professor of marine biology and ecology at the UM Rosenstiel School.

The Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program is managed by the Florida Institute of Oceanography to support research and monitoring of coastal fisheries and wildlife ecosystems in the Gulf Coast Region, and to provide comprehensive observation, monitoring, and mapping of the Gulf of Mexico.

On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law the RESTORE Act following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund and the RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Research Grant Program.

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About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

Spatial polygons for the Gulf of Mexico Atlantis ecosystem model (Ainsworth et al. 2015).

Spatial polygons for the Gulf of Mexico Atlantis ecosystem model (Ainsworth et al. 2015).

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