Call for Research and Outreach Proposals
Gopher Tortoise Research Symposium
Save the date for the virtual Gopher Tortoise Research Symposium: January 12, 2024, 10 a.m. to noon EST. The annual symposium showcases research that helps inform conservation and management for gopher tortoises and their commensals.2023-24 Agenda and Meeting Link
The deadline for submission of Proposals for FY 24-25 is April 15, 2024. Please submit proposals and budget forms to GTProposals@MyFWC.com with the project title in the subject line.
Applicants with high-ranking proposals will be notified by email before July 15, 2024.
Effective management of gopher tortoises requires science-based policy and practices.
To promote actionable science, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is funding scientific research and outreach projects on an annual basis using gopher tortoise mitigation contributions. For all projects, we encourage incorporation of gopher tortoise commensal species to maximize the conservation benefit of gopher tortoise mitigation contributions.
Outreach is also funded to educate the public, policy-makers, and the media about gopher tortoise conservation in Florida. Projects which align with outreach goals in the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan are especially encouraged.
Funded research projects help address knowledge gaps and inform policies and practices. These projects may vary from basic life-history studies to improving relocation methodologies to human dimensions research.
Current research needs identified by FWC staff and the Gopher Tortoise Management Plan:
- Factors that enhance recipient site fidelity and overall relocation success
- Impacts of relocated gopher tortoises on natural and adjacent gopher tortoise populations
- Updated Florida-wide gopher tortoise population estimate
- Compatibility of solar sites with gopher tortoises
- Gopher tortoise disease outbreak
- Agricultural/Silvicultural best management practices efficacy
- Identifying mass mortality indicators
- Site fidelity of tortoises inhabiting burrows proximal to development and/or on preserves of developed property
- Methods to reduce road mortalities
- Efficacy of burrow survey methodologie
- Impact of captivity on survivorship and behavior of released tortoises
- Impacts of gopher tortoise relocation practices on other species, especially commensals/SGCN
- Influence of capture method on survivorship and fitness of translocated tortoises
- Shell disarticulation studies to predict time since death
Please note that handling and/or possession of gopher tortoises, their eggs, or parts thereof, or conducting activities that may impact burrows is prohibited without a Scientific Collecting permit or a FWC-issued permit for relocation purposes. Refer to Appendix 14 of the Gopher Tortoise Permitting Guidelines for more information about these no-cost Protected Wildlife Permits. For projects that meet Scientific Collecting permit criteria, we recommend coordinating with the Gopher Tortoise Program Coordinator in advance and submitting a scientific collecting permit application prior to the proposal submission date (permits are issued within 90 days of receiving a complete application).
Proposal Content Requirements
Please submit proposal in a Microsoft Word document. Text should be Times New Roman, size 12 font, and single-spaced.
Be sure to include the name, affiliation, address, phone, cell, and email for each investigator or applicant.
Relate the proposed work to gopher tortoise conservation in Florida and set forth one or more specific objectives. Please list these research/outreach objectives in bullet format within the text of this section. Provide adequate information to facilitate project evaluation, including detailed expected outcomes. Extensive references to background literature are not necessary.
Succinctly outline the specific activities that will accomplish the research/outreach objective(s) (e.g., the proposed methods for data collection and analysis). Collaboration or partnering with other agencies or organizations is encouraged. Specify whether or not a Scientific Collecting permit application has been submitted for these activities, and include the application number if so.
A mid-progress status report (due six months after contract start date) and final report (due 12 months after contract start date) will be provided to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The status report will indicate progress toward the objectives, a Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) biostatistician-approved analysis plan and any preliminary results. The final report will include results that align with the FWRI biostatistician-approved analysis plan, discussion, and recommendations as appropriate. The investigators will give a presentation about this research at the annual FWC Gopher Tortoise Research Symposium. Notification of presentations made and reprints of published results from funded projects are encouraged.
Provide a brief timeframe for the proposed work. Keep in mind that funded projects are intended to be short-term (1 to 3 years). If the proposed tasks cover more than one state fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), group them by year. Also, consider the actual activity time may be shortened within a given year due to the time necessary for establishing a formal contract or contract task assignment.
Budget form. Briefly summarize a proposed budget in terms of time-frame. Funds available for these projects vary from year to year and can be committed only on a yearly basis; thus, projects are evaluated annually for new and continued funding. For proposals spanning more than one state fiscal year, group the costs by year. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not fund capital outlay expenses (computers, vehicles, etc.), tuition fees, or faculty salaries; university administrative overhead is limited to 10%. Keep in mind that funds are limited; cost sharing is encouraged, please list outside contributions. A typical maximum funding for a year of university-research ranges from $5,000 to $20,000. The proposal must have a completed FWC Budget Form. Failure to complete the form will prevent your proposal from being considered for FWC funding.