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Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch-Linked with Limulus

Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch - Linked with Limulus

BECOME A CITIZEN SCIENTIST!

In 2015, FWRI and the University of Florida launched a citizen science initiative which trained volunteers to assist biologists in surveying, tagging and resighting Florida’s nesting horseshoe crab populations using a standardized scientific protocol.  The program has been so successful that FWC is expanding our efforts to a statewide level. 

Current sampling areas include beaches in Hernando, Pinellas, Pasco, Brevard, Taylor, Manatee, Volusia, Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie, Franklin, Nassau, Dixie, Levy, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Monroe, and Collier county. We are actively working to incorporate sites in Escambia, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler and Broward counties. We hope to expand even more in the coming years.

Survey results are published seasonally and include the number of animals sighted, tagged and resighted in a given area. View a sample of the program information and data gathered in the Cedar Key area from 2017.

If you are interested in assisting with surveys going on in your area, or would like to suggest a location for inclusion into the program scroll down to find your county coordinator or contact:

Berlynna Heres
(727) 896-8626
Berlynna.Heres@myfwc.com

Overview

Overview of the sampling procedure

Contact Your Local Site Coordinator

Holly Abeels

Holly Abeels

Holly Abeels, M.S. received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology from Southampton College of Long Island University in 2002. After graduating, she worked at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in a benthic ecology lab. There she worked on oyster reef restoration projects and taxonomy of organisms in benthic sediments collected under offshore fish cages. She left UNH in 2007 to pursue her Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science from Florida Gulf Coast University where she graduated in 2009. She has worked for the University of Florida IFAS Extension program in Brevard County since 2010 as a Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent. As an extension agent, she brings science-based information to the community in areas of natural resources, sustainability, climate change, and water quality and conservation.

To contact holly about Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch email her at:

habeels@ufl.edu

Berlynna Heres

berlynna.heres@myfwc.com

Samantha Arner

Samantha Arner

In December 2020, Samantha received her M.A in Biology with a focus in community science and education from Miami University. In an attempt to bridge the gap between citizens and science within Collier and Lee County, she joined the Horseshoe Crab Watch program in March 2020.

Prior to her earning her master’s, she graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and a minor in Marine Sciences. Since moving to Florida in 2014, she has gained experience in sea turtle research, wildlife rehabilitation, animal care, and education. Currently, Samantha is the Animal Care Coordinator at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, where she oversees the care and use of animals for their school programs and public outreach.

Sam can be reached at: sam.arner@gmail.com

Savanna Barry

Savanna Barry

To learn more about Savanna visit 

https://ncbs.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/

 

Savanna can be reached at:

savanna.barry@ufl.edu

 

Rick O'Connor

Rick O'Connor

Rick O’Connor

B.S. Marine Biology – Troy University / Dauphin Island Sea Lab

M.S. Science Education / Vertebrate Zoology – University of Southern Mississippi              

Rick is a native of Pensacola, Florida.  He attended Troy University and Dauphin Island Sea Lab receiving a B.S. in marine biology and earned a M.S. in Science Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.  He has been a marine educator for 36 years teaching marine and environment science for public high schools, Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Discovery Hall Program, and as an adjunct at Pensacola State College.  He developed the Marine Science Academy at Washington High School and directed the program for 19 years.  This program conducted student designed research projects in water quality, habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, and animal behavior.  He is currently serving as the Florida Sea Grant Agent for the University of Florida Extension program in Escambia County. 

His extension program has two focus areas (1) Healthy Estuaries, and (2) Coastal Literacy & Workforce Development.  Within healthy estuaries he has developed, and oversees citizen science monitoring of water quality, habitat, and estuarine wildlife.  He also works with invasive species, septic and sewage education, and living shorelines.  With workforce development the focus is nature tourism, seafood, and aquaculture.  Under coastal literacy he teaches the Florida Master Naturalist course, works with snake issues on the barrier islands and educates youth on marine science topics.      

He is married with three children and two grandchildren. 

Rick can be reached at:

roc1@ufl.edu

Rosalyn Kilcollins

Rosalyn Kilcollins

Rosalyn Kilcollins is the Horseshoe Crab Watch Coordinator for the Bald Point State Park, which had 2 sites. She has a BS in biology and MS Geography from FSU. She completed all but a thesis toward earning an MS in Secondary Science Education from FAMU/FSU.

Rosalyn is semi-retired. She is a a Certified Lead Instructor for Florida Master Naturalist Program and does part-time consulting offering training, education and facilitation regarding coastal community resilience and climate adaptation, ecosystem studies and restoration. Prior to retiring, Rosalyn was the Coastal Training Program Coordinator at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve for 10 ½ years. The program provides training and technical assistance to decision-makers, including elected and appointed officials, planners, engineers, consultants, non-profit organizations and associations, ecotour operators, and others. Topics include growth and land use issues, watershed planning and stormwater management, coastal hazards; climate science and adaptation planning, community resilience, ecosystem studies and ecotourism, ecological restoration, living shorelines and sustainable practices. She previously worked for the Florida Coastal Management Program for 10 years as a planner and environmental specialist. 

Rosalyn has served as President or Chair of several organizations including the Florida Marine Science Educators Association, State Committee on Environmental Education, Big Bend Sierra Club and Magnolia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. She has worked on several statewide and regional conferences for these organizations and also the Southeast Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and Florida Association of Environmental Professionals. 

She can be reached at:

roztally@gmail.com

Brittany Hall-Scharf

Brittany Hall-Scharf

Brittany Scharf is the Florida Sea Grant Agent with UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County. Scharf oversees coastal and marine programs addressing fisheries, habitats, water quality, and sustainable economic resource activities. Scharf was formerly a fisheries biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and an adjunct professor for the University of Tampa. She holds a B.S. in Biological Science and a Coastal and Marine Science Resources Certificate from Florida State University, and an M.S. in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida.

Brittany can be reached at:

bhallscharf@ufl.edu

Kirk Fusco & Emily Surmont

Emily Surmont and Kirk Fusco

Kirk Fusco

Kirk Fusco, of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves office, specializes in shoreline habitat ecology, marine invertebrates, and shoreline restoration. He has spent over 150 days at sea, piloted many coastal restoration projects, and tagged horseshoe crabs, birds, terrapins, and smalltooth sawfish. Kirk has an academic background in Marine Biology, and his passion focuses on ocean and coastal conservation for future generations.

Kirk can be reached at: kirk.fusco@dep.state.fl.us

Emily Surmont

Shoreline Restoration Project Coordinator

Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Emily received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Broward College in 2019. As the Shoreline Restoration Project Coordinator, Emily works to raise awareness regarding the importance of shoreline habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. She loves the coastal environment, spending her work time in the lagoon and free time in the ocean. Please feel free to reach out to Emily regarding the Indian River County and St. Lucie County Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch Program 

Emily can be reached at: emily.surmont@floridadep.gov

Samantha Arner

Samantha Arner

In December 2020, Samantha received her M.A in Biology with a focus in community science and education from Miami University. In an attempt to bridge the gap between citizens and science within Collier and Lee County, she joined the Horseshoe Crab Watch program in March 2020.

Prior to her earning her master’s, she graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and a minor in Marine Sciences. Since moving to Florida in 2014, she has gained experience in sea turtle research, wildlife rehabilitation, animal care, and education. Currently, Samantha is the Animal Care Coordinator at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, where she oversees the care and use of animals for their school programs and public outreach.

Sam can be reached at: sam.arner@gmail.com

Savanna Barry

Savanna Barry

To learn more about Savanna visit 

https://ncbs.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/

 

Savanna can be reached at:

savanna.barry@ufl.edu

 

Marsha Wikle

Marsha Wikle

New Manatee coordinator Marsha Wikle spent her career outdoors with the US Forest Service in Ohio, Oregon and Idaho.  In retirement she has become a Florida Master naturalist and leads interpretive hikes and kayak trips for the Sierra Club.  She has established her own natural area in her backyard where a dozen plants are blooming at any one time and she raises monarch butterflies.  While not a beach goer in spite of living just a few miles away, the horseshoe crab project has put her on her closest beach plenty! She particularly enjoys the hands on learning about sea life while spending time with other nature-oriented volunteers.       

You can contact Marsha at:

mw121150@gmail.com

Kirk Fusco & Emily Surmont

Emily Surmont and Kirk Fusco

Kirk Fusco

Kirk Fusco, of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves office, specializes in shoreline habitat ecology, marine invertebrates, and shoreline restoration. He has spent over 150 days at sea, piloted many coastal restoration projects, and tagged horseshoe crabs, birds, terrapins, and smalltooth sawfish. Kirk has an academic background in Marine Biology, and his passion focuses on ocean and coastal conservation for future generations.

Kirk can be reached at: kirk.fusco@dep.state.fl.us

Emily Surmont

Shoreline Restoration Project Coordinator

Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Emily received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Broward College in 2019. As the Shoreline Restoration Project Coordinator, Emily works to raise awareness regarding the importance of shoreline habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. She loves the coastal environment, spending her work time in the lagoon and free time in the ocean. Please feel free to reach out to Emily regarding the Indian River County and St. Lucie County Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch Program 

Emily can be reached at: emily.surmont@floridadep.gov

Milena Orjuela

Milena Orjuela

Milena Orjuela is from Colombia and has a Bachelor Degree in Nursing. Her real passion has always been wildlife conservation  and animals. After many years in the healthcare field, she has decided to pursue her real passion and currently she is working towards becoming a wildlife rehabilitator and going back to school to obtain a master degree in environmental sciences.

At this time, Milena is volunteering her free time to help develop the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch Program in Miami-Dade.

strongvaleria11@gmail.com

 

Shelly Krueger

Shelly Krueger

Shelly Krueger, M.S., is the Florida Sea Grant agent in Monroe County for the University of Florida IFAS Extension. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree at Georgia Tech in Science, Technology, and Culture, where she was a National Science Foundation STEP Fellow, and her Master’s degree at Savannah State University in Marine Sciences, where she was a NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center Fellow and completed her master’s thesis focused on Eastern oyster restoration in coastal Georgia.

Prior to coming to the University of Florida, she was a research technician at the University of Georgia Marine Extension on Skidaway Island, Savannah, GA at the Shellfish Research Lab. In 2009, Shelly was a Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and spent one year at NOAA headquarters in the National Marine Fisheries Service assisting staff to implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Shelly interned at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota.

Shelly is on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program Steering Committee and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Coral Advisory Panel, Outreach and Education Technical Committee, and Vice-Chair of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Outreach and Communication Advisory Panel.

Shelly Krueger can be reached at 

shellykrueger@ufl.edu

Justina Dacey

Justina Dacey received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences from Florida State University in 2007. After graduating, she worked for Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Her diverse research experiences have been broadly focused on coral reef and estuary ecology, fisheries and wildlife habitat conservation and management. In 2012, she began her master’s in marine science at Jacksonville University. In 2018, she began her position with the University of Florida IFAS Extension program in Nassau County. As the Natural Resources and Agriculture Extension Agent she provides research-based education programs related to coastal restoration techniques, horseshoe crab ecology, invasive species, sustainability, and general agriculture. She is also a Lead Instructor for the Florida Master Naturalist Program, an adult continuing education program providing information and exploration of Florida’s unique flora and fauna.

Justina can be reached at:

jdacey@ufl.edu

Madelyn Hightower & Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones and Maddie Hightower

Ryan Jones and Maddie Hightower joined the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch team in 2019. They attended a workshop in Cedar Key, and it was limulus love at first sight! Since then, they have helped take point on establishing the program in their home county of Pinellas. 

As a Florida native, professional captain, and student of environmental science, Ryan has spent his whole life around Florida wildlife and the ocean. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to be hands-on with the FHCW and to share his passion for biology. Maddie is a longtime employee at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where she shares her love of marine life and conservation with visitors and teammates alike. An organizational nerd at heart, she also loves the administrative side of helping to coordinate the FHCW team. 

When they aren't tagging crabs, Maddie and Ryan enjoy reading, playing with their two dogs, and debating which fandom is better: Harry Potter or Star Trek.

They can be reached at:

Madelyn: madelynhightower@gmail.com

Ryan: aquaticexplorer86@gmail.com

Kirk Fusco & Emily Surmont

Emily Surmont and Kirk Fusco

Kirk Fusco

Kirk Fusco, of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves office, specializes in shoreline habitat ecology, marine invertebrates, and shoreline restoration. He has spent over 150 days at sea, piloted many coastal restoration projects, and tagged horseshoe crabs, birds, terrapins, and smalltooth sawfish. Kirk has an academic background in Marine Biology, and his passion focuses on ocean and coastal conservation for future generations.

Kirk can be reached at: kirk.fusco@dep.state.fl.us

Emily Surmont

Shoreline Restoration Project Coordinator

Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Emily received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Broward College in 2019. As the Shoreline Restoration Project Coordinator, Emily works to raise awareness regarding the importance of shoreline habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. She loves the coastal environment, spending her work time in the lagoon and free time in the ocean. Please feel free to reach out to Emily regarding the Indian River County and St. Lucie County Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch Program 

Emily can be reached at: emily.surmont@floridadep.gov

Armando Ubeda

Armando Ubeda

Armando J. Ubeda is the Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent of UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. His Extension program focuses on the FL Master Naturalist Program, Living Shorelines, Sustainable Fisheries, Marine Resource Conservation, Marine Debris prevention, Water Quality/Quantity, and Citizen-Scientist programs such as the Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch. He brings his experience and training to these courses from his time as a coral reef researcher in Nicaragua, from his time as staff biologists at the Department of Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in the USA, and from his former position as a Mesoamerican Program Manager for a conservation organization called LightHawk. Armando received his bachelor’s degree in marine sciences with a minor in chemistry from the University of Mobile’s Latin American campus and his master’s degree in marine resource management from Oregon State University. Ubeda has also completed postgraduate courses in marine ecology, crocodile ecology, and environmental impact assessment. Armando received a Fulbright scholarship as well as several other competitive scholarships such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Mamie Markham Research Award from Oregon State University, and the Duke University Marine Laboratory Scholarship.

Armando can be reached at:

aubeda@ufl.edu

Victor Blanco

Victor Blanco

Victor Blanco received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology from Universidad de Oriente, Venezuela, in 1999. After graduating, he worked for 15 years in the public and private sector as environmental consultant, environmental projects and fisheries manager, professor at the Caribbean Maritime University and also as consultant with international organizations as UNDP and UNESCO. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from University of Florida. Victor has worked for the University of Florida IFAS Extension program in Taylor County since 2016 as a Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent. As an extension agent, he brings science-based information to the community in areas of natural resources, sustainability, fisheries management, artificial reefs and coastal systems conservation.
To contact Victor about Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch email him at:

victorblancomar@ufl.edu

Jessy Wayles

To learn more about Jessy visit:

https://www.marinediscoverycenter.org/about/staff/

Jessy can be contacted at:

jessy@marinediscoverycenter.org

We're Always Growing!

If you don't see your county listed and are interested in becoming a site coordinator contact Berlynna Heres at berlynna.heres@myfwc.com.