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Office of the Director

The Office of the Director is responsible for managing a budget of over $102,000,000, which supports all programs and operations of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). FWRI’s Director leads the science sections and oversees Institute-wide functions, such as Research Operations, which provides facilities management, finance, communications and human resources support.

Approximately 800 staff members make up FWRI. FWRI’s headquarters, located in downtown St. Petersburg, is home-base to nearly half of its employees. More than 25 field stations enable other FWRI staff members to be strategically located throughout the state near the resources they study.

Gil McRae, FWRI Director

Leanne Flewelling, Deputy Director

Staff: 74
FY 2023-2024 budget: $12,422,541

At an outreach event a man standing is holding an alligator. A woman standing next to him is holding a snake.


The Director of FWRI leads the science sections: Marine Fisheries Research, Freshwater Fisheries Research, Wildlife Research, Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration, and Information Science and Management. The Office of the Director also oversees Institute-wide functions such as Research Operations.

Gil McRae

The Research Operations Section supports the scientific activities of FWRI and consists of work groups including Human Resources, Administrative Services (finance), Communications, and Facilities Management. Administrative Services includes a Grants Office that provides centralized coordination and support for securing and managing revenue grant-funded resources.

Leanne Flewelling