ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2012) – The Florida Institute of Oceanography is adding six public and private marine science education and research institutes to its membership, extending its reach and capabilities to provide world-class marine science research and education to the state of Florida.
The FIO Council voted at their Jan. 26 council meeting at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University to admit five associate members and one affiliate member. They join the 20 current members of the FIO consortium, which has joined public and private academic and marine research institutes in sharing resources and coordinate marine science learning opportunities for Florida students and educators. The FIO, founded more than 40 years ago as an asset to the State University System, is an Academic Infrastructure Support Organization. The FIO is hosted by the University of South Florida and reports to the Florida Board of Governors.
The five new associate members are: St. Petersburg College; USF-St. Petersburg; Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute; Jacksonville University; and SRI-St. Petersburg. The new affiliate member is Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service. ROFFS is the first for-profit business to join the FIO and St. Petersburg College is the first Florida college to become a FIO member.
“It’s great to get more institutions with a marine education and research focus around the table, including expertise in new technologies,” said FIO Director William Hogarth.”This will benefit students across the state and will help the state’s response to future emergencies.”
“The FIO continues to demonstrate that it is both a System-wide asset and a wealth of expertise and research talent unrivaled in most states – particularly at this level of collaborative partnership considering the sheer numbers of public and private sector entities engaged,” said State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan.
The new members were approved based on criteria that include: a significant presence in Florida; a primary focus is marine science education and research; and demonstrated ability to bring tangible support to FIO. Associate and affiliate members do not have voting privileges on the FIO Advisory Council, but can participate in FIO initiatives and research activities.
FIO is primarily recognized for its operations of Florida’s marine research vessels, the R/V Weatherbird II and the R/V Bellows, both of which drew international attention during the scientific response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Additionally, the FIO operates the Keys Marine Lab, one of Florida’s premier marine science education laboratories.
During its history, FIO has played a leading role in introducing Florida public school students and university undergraduates to marine science through educational outreach efforts and professional enhancement programs for teachers.
Until its decision to add new members, the FIO had consisted of Florida’s 11 state universities and nine other marine science entities: Eckerd College; Florida Sea Grant College; University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science; Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute; Florida Institute of Technology; Mote Marine Laboratory; Nova Southeastern University; and the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.
More information on FIO and its activities can be found at http://fio.usf.edu/Home.aspx.
Originally formed in 1967, the FIO is one of only three institutes in Florida approved by the State University System's Board of Governors in 2009 as a statewide Academic Infrastructure Support Organization. USF serves as the host university. The FIO Director is informed by an Advisory Council and an Executive Committee of that membership. The Director reports to the Board of Governors through the USF Provost. The FIO has been designated as the recipient and administrator of the $10 million from BP, for research grant purposes, on behalf of the State University System. The Florida Board of Governors is the constitutional body created by voters in 2002 to guide the State University System of Florida.