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Wildlife Research

From the beach mouse to the right whale, Florida is home to a wide array of wildlife species. Biologists with the Wildlife Research section monitor the status of Florida’s birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and terrestrial invertebrates. This includes species important to hunters such as deer, alligator and waterfowl, and imperiled species such as the Florida panther and the Florida manatee. Wildlife managers rely on the information this research provides to develop conservation and restoration plans that ensure the long-term sustainability of Florida’s wildlife populations.

Robin Boughton, Section Leader

Staff: 169
FY 2023-2024 budget: $26,961,229

A black and white bird with a long orange beak stands in the water. The bird has red tags on each of its legs.


Researchers provide data on the life history, population biology and ecology of Florida’s bird species to aid managers in developing conservation plans and to assist recovery efforts.

Subsection Leader
Caroline Poli,

Researchers focus on key topics, from population and risk assessment to behavioral ecology, to inform and help guide manatee and right whale conservation and recovery planning. The program coordinates statewide manatee rescues and participates in marine mammal stranding networks.

Subsection Leader
Leslie Ward-Geiger,

Researchers investigate the life history, population biology, ecology, behavior and migrations of sea turtles to guide conservation and recovery planning. The program also coordinates daily surveys of sea turtle nesting beaches statewide and coordinates documentation (including rescue when needed) of all dead, sick, or injured sea turtles that are found in Florida.

Subsection Leader
Allen Foley,

Researchers study the ecology, conservation, and distribution of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates while generating data to inform management.

Subsection Leader
David Steen,

Researchers investigate the natural history, population biology, ecology and behavior of land-based mammals, providing current scientific information necessary for maintaining viable populations of Florida’s native mammals.

Subsection Leader
Elizabeth Braun de Torrez,