Water quality has always been a core mission of SCCF, and this commitment was formalized in 2002 with the establishment of the Marine Laboratory. Ongoing studies of mangroves, seagrasses, harmful algal blooms, sources of pollution, sea trout, bay scallops, oysters, blue crabs and more measure the health of the estuary and record the impact of freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee as well as local water quality concerns, as well as the continuing impact from 2004’s Hurricane Charley.
The Marine Lab launched its RECON network (River, Estuary, and Coastal Observing Network) in Fall 2007. RECON sensors provide real-time reporting on key water quality parameters. This data will be transmitted hourly and is available at http://recon.sccf.org. The Marine Laboratory has established thriving academic collaborations with several universities, including Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of South Florida and Florida Atlantic University.