Welcome to the MARES Project

study areaThe goal of the Marine and Estuarine Goal Setting for South Florida (MARES) Project is to  reach a science-based consensus about the defining characteristics and fundamental regulating processes of a South Florida coastal marine ecosystem that is both sustainable and capable of providing the diverse ecological services upon which our society depends.

MARES represents a collaboration between academic scientists, federal and state agencies experts and non-governmental environmental organizations working in close conjunction with agency managers, private industry stakeholders and interested members of the public.   The first step in the process will involve the development of Integrated Conceptual Ecosystem Models (ICEMs) for three sub-regions (Florida Keys & Dry Tortugas, Southeast Florida Shelf and Southwest Florida Shelf ) and a Total Marine System ICEM integrating these with available Conceptual Ecological Models (CEMs) for Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and the Caloosahatchee Estuary.   Going beyond the models created for the Comprehensive Everglades Plan, the models envisioned for MARES will incorporate not only natural science information and processes but also human dimensions science and societal processes.  These models and a deliberate series of public meetings and agency briefings will be used to identify Quantitative Ecosystem Indicators (QEIs).  These QEIs will then be integrated into a South Florida coastal ecosystem report card which  will assist  natural resource and environmental management of South Florida by providing a common reference with respect to overall ecosystem health and by measuring change in response to the management actions taken by the participating federal and state agencies.


This project was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR; http://www.cop.noaa.gov/).