Program overview

The Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative is releasing the 1st Request for Proposals, please see the Guidelines at this Link. The application period will be open from today (December 1, 2023) until 5:00 PM EST, January 31, 2024. Any questions about the Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative should be directed to Kevin Claridge at or 941-388-4441 ext 275.

Seagrass is critically important to the ecology and economy of coastal ecosystems, serving vital functions for various fisheries, nursery habitats for a variety of keystone species, shoreline/sediment stabilization, absorbing nutrients, carbon storage, and coastal resilience. Unfortunately, seagrasses are being rapidly lost due to both indirect and direct anthropogenic impacts as well as the broader effects of global climate change.  

Turtle grass (
Thalassia testudinum) in Steinhatchee, Florida. Credit: Whitney Scheffel

A science-based restoration effort is needed to address diminishing seagrass habitat, distribution, and diversity.  This research program builds upon the ongoing partnership between nursery restoration practitioners and top marine and genetic scientists to generate a sustainable source of genetically resilient, and naturally reproducing seagrass, in both land-based nurseries and in-water seagrass field nurseries, as well as large-scale seagrass gene banks.  This program also seeks to develop a market for blue carbon offsets utilizing cutting-edge seagrass research for restoration.

Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative

The Florida Legislature and Governor, in recognizing the need for innovative seagrass research to guide coastal restoration passed the Seagrass Restoration Technology Development Initiative (Initiative, 403.9334 Florida Statutes).  Under this statute, it is the intent of Legislature to establish a collaborative and coordinated effort among public and private research entities to develop restoration technologies and approaches to address the loss of seagrass and cascading ecological and economic impacts of that loss to communities across Florida.  

The goal of the Initiative is to develop, test and implement innovative, effective, cost-efficient, and environmentally sustainable technologies and approaches for restoring coastal seagrass ecosystems.  The Initiative is established within the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) as a partnership between the Florida Aquatic Preserve Program, Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote), and the University of Florida. The legislation requires the Department to award funds to Mote to function as the lead administrative component to achieve the goals of the Initiative. 


Initiative Objectives:

  1. Develop and operate a seagrass research nursery with various statewide seagrass populations at Mote’s Aquaculture Research Park for this Initiative.  Develop and grow partnerships to establish additional seagrass nurseries across the state to further this Initiative’s research goals.

  2. Test the resilience of different statewide seagrass populations to multiple environmental stressors in controlled lab and nursery settings to determine the most genetically resilient seagrass.  Collaborate with coastal restoration practitioners to develop sustainable sources of the resilient seagrass.

  3. Develop and maintain a genetic library of Florida seagrass to utilize statewide restoration efforts.

  4. Facilitate engagement with other pertinent marine science and technology development organizations to pursue applied research and technology for the successful restoration of seagrass ecosystems.

  5. In collaboration with the Florida Aquatic Preserve Program, Mote Marine Laboratory and the University of Florida shall create a 10-year Florida Seagrass Restoration Plan to implement tools and technologies developed under the Initiative.

  6. Leverage state-appropriated funds with additional funds from private and federal sources to further the goals of the Initiative.

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