Some of Brazil’s emerging leaders in environmental issues were on hand Tuesday, Aug. 13, to tour Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute and learn about some of its cutting-edge projects.
MSRI Executive Director Dr. Quinton White showed the group the Institute’s work related to aquaculture, fishery efforts, reef balls and buoys to help foster coral reefs and marine life, rainwater and seawater collection projects and more. The members got to see MSRI laboratories and classrooms and the Institute’s unique green-design aspects.
“Much of what we discussed centered on common concerns about water quality and water supply,” White said. “They have issues like the post-Panamax harbor deepening and associated environmental impacts. Having a sustainable clean water supply is critical to everyone, whether it is Florida or Brazil.”
White also discussed the Institute’s collaboration with Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville Marine Charities, the National Park Service, St. Johns Riverkeeper and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. He gave an overview of the unique nature of marine resources in the Jacksonville area, with freshwater from the St. Johns River, brackish marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway and the saltwater marine environment of the Atlantic Ocean.
He provided a glimpse into the MSRI, which is designed as a premier biological and environmental research and education facility. Because the area’s waters share concerns and issues with similar ecosystems nationwide, the research work accomplished at the JU MSRI has national benefits.
Dr. Dan McCarthy, director of the Marine Science Program at Jacksonville University, and Dr. Jeremy Stalker, assistant professor of marine science, also took part, along with Russ Brodie of Florida Fish and Wildlife.
On hand from Brazil for the visit were Ernesto BastosViveiros De Castro, Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio); Ivana Lucia Franco Cei, Attorney General of the Public Ministry from the State of Amapá; Leandra Regina Gonçalves, Project Public Policy for SOS Mata Atlantic; Josiane Rosa Silva De Oliveira, MatoGrosso Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology. Department of State Language Officers Rene Costales and Alex Ladd were part of the tour as well.
The Brazilian visitors also toured Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, where they viewed and talked about the conservation programs for the preserve’s salt marshes, coastal dunes and hardwood hammocks.
The visit was arranged by GlobalJax, the local partner for the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership.
“These exchanges and visitations are so very important, and we appreciate GlobalJax arranging the visit,” White said. “It helps to keep our own local issues in perspective.”
For more on the JU Marine Science Research Institute, visit http://www.ju.edu/msri.