Fulfilling an unmet scientific need to protect the health and safety of the Indian River Lagoon's regional population.

HBOI Foundation

Warming temperatures, sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns and so called “tropicalization” coupled to population growth are creating documented ecological shifts in Florida Coastal Ecosystems. A primary focus of the Center’s research is on the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), where ecological shifts have begun to negatively affect the ecosystem resulting in both economic and human health impacts due to an increasing number of harmful algal bloom (HAB) events. The IRL has been recognized as an “Estuary of National Significance” by the U.S. Congress, with an estimated annual economic value of ~ $8 billion. Unfortunately the IRL ecosystem is likely one of the most HAB impacted estuaries in the United States in terms of diversity of HAB species, number and extent of blooms, and resultant range of toxins that may ultimately affect the humans that live and work in the region. Understanding the connections between climate change, the local environment and HABs, and resultant human health issues is the central mission of the Florida Center for Coastal and Human Health. FLCCHH was made possible with funding from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation.