Looking Back … from 1984 to a new Millennium
The state of Florida is renowned for its fishery and aquatic resources. More than 1,300 linear miles of coastline, 12 major bays and estuaries, 7,800 – plus lakes, 100,000 ponds, and thousands of miles of navigable rivers provide residents and visitors with a lifestyle rich in aquatic recreational and commercial opportunities. In addition to the sheer quantity of water, Florida spans nearly seven degrees in latitude, encompassing both temperate and subtropical marine and freshwater ecosystems.
However, rapid population growth continues to place increasing demands on the Florida’s aquatic resources. Conserving marine and freshwater resources, enhancing food and agricultural production, and meeting the water demands of all the state is inhabitants, will depend upon prudent and far-sighted management.
Recognizing the need for information and expertise in fisheries and aquatic sciences, the Department was established in 1984 by a core group of faculty from the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (Drs. Jerome Shireman, Daniel Canfield, Jr., Bill Haller, and Joseph Joyce).
Within several years, the fledgling program had expanded beyond the bounds of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, resulting in its own Degree awarding department within UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. At that point it was named the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (FAS). Twenty-four years after its establishment, FAS has become one of the fastest growing departments for aquatic research and education in the country. With a highly diverse and accomplished faculty, it is able to offer students a rich academic foundation.
As of July 1, 2008 Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences merged with the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) and is now one of three broad programmatic areas within the SFRC along with Geomatics and Forest Resources and Conservation.
Core facilities have also expanded from one small building to a large complex including offices, classrooms, numerous laboratories, and a hatchery facility located in Gainesville, as well as satellite research/teaching facilities in Ruskin.
Dr. Daniel E. Canfield Jr. (left) and Dr. Jerome V. Shireman (right)
Dr. Joseph C. Joyce (left) and Dr. William T. Haller (right)