Common Sea Fans (<em>Gorgonia ventilina</em>) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Common Sea Fans (Gorgonia ventilina) are one of several species of sea fans found in southeast Florida. Sea fans are also classified as soft corals or gorgonians.

Photo: Chantal Collier

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Juvenile bluehead wrasses swim along the reef in Palm Beach.

Photo: Joe Marino

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Southeast Florida Reef News

Annual Team Meeting Provides a Glimpse at the Future of SEFCRI

Karen Bohnsack
NOAA Coral Fellow

The SEFCRI Team is comprised of more than sixty local partners from Miami-Dade through Martin counties. View the list of partners at http://www.southeastfloridareefs.net/about-us/sefcri-partners/. Photo: FDEP CRCP
The SEFCRI Team is comprised of more than sixty local partners from Miami-Dade through Martin counties. View the list of partners at http://www.southeastfloridareefs.net/about-us/sefcri-partners/. Photo: FDEP CRCP

In September 2013, members of the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative convened at Nova Southeastern University’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research for its annual two-day meeting. Although it was the third annual gathering of the full SEFCRI Team since 2011, this meeting was significant in that it revealed changes made within SEFCRI during the previous year, and offered a glimpse at the future direction of SEFCRI.

SEFCRI revised its structure over the course of 2013 to better reflect the composition of the southeast Florida community of reef users, increase leadership, and add to the amount of technical expertise available to inform SEFCRI projects. To that end, 16 new Team members were selected to improve representation among a variety of interests within SEFCRI, including fishing, diving, and private business, and 9 Vice-Chairs were elected to enhance leadership within the Team. Finally, the SEFCRI Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), an advisory body which historically focused solely on coral reef issues related to land based sources of pollution, was similarly restructured in 2013 to include additional expertise and expand its role within SEFCRI.  

In addition to being the first meeting of this revised SEFCRI Team, the September 2013 was also the first time the full SEFCRI Team meeting coincided with a 1 ½ day bi-annual meeting of the TAC. During the September meeting, the SEFCRI Team and TAC assembled for a full day of collaboration and breakout discussions, during which they worked together to develop and prioritize new Local Action Strategy projects to pursue in the coming years. To date, 130 of the 140 (93%) LAS projects conceived by the original SEFCRI Team in 2004 have been completed or are ongoing. This joint session offered the SEFCRI Team the opportunity to seek technical guidance from the TAC on research priorities, while the TAC was able to gain an improved understanding of SEFCRI needs in identifying data gaps, evaluating project ideas, and providing recommendations. Such opportunities for collaboration between these two entities will continue into the future.

Other topics covered during the 2-day SEFCRI Team meeting included SEFCRI Team updates, presentations on the status of ongoing SEFCRI projects, and next steps within the Our Florida Reefs Community Planning Process. The SEFCRI Team and Technical Advisory Committee Meetings were held on September 25 and 26, and September 26 and 27, 2013, respectively, at Nova Southeastern University’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research.



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