Environment

A healthier planet

starts on the Atlantic coast.

Join us as we work toward a better world and make discoveries that will transform our tomorrow.

Our location makes us ground zero for the biggest issues facing our natural environment. And with strategic, dedicated environmental initiatives, we’re well poised to solve global issues right here on the Atlantic coast. But we can’t do it without you.

Built the world's
1
st
ocean energy turbines for offshore testing
FAU scientists were the
1
st
to successfully repopulate a damaged coral reef, with sea fans that were raised in captivity

Featured Story

Three Ocean Substrates Create a Triple Threat to Marine Life and Human Health

Supported by a National Science Foundation grant, researchers from Florida Atlantic and collaborators from around the world uncovered how Sargassum, plastic debris and Vibrio bacteria combine in coastal waters to negatively impact human and marine-life health. Vibrio bacteria are seen in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmest. Eating raw or undercooked shellfish is the most common way that humans are exposed to Vibrio bacteria, but infection can also occur when open wounds are exposed to salt water containing Vibrio bacteria. What FAU’s researchers recently discovered is that Vibrio attach to, or “stick” to plastic debris floating in the ocean. This represents a potentially new ocean bacteria species. Moreover, this new vibrio-plastic species may contain pathogens that cause leaky gut syndrome. For instance, infected fish released higher levels of waste that could stimulate Sargassum growth. In addition to water temperature and pollution, Sargassum overgrowth can also result from excessive marine life waste.

A cycle of vibrio-plastic bacteria formation and marine life infection can create yet another condition for sargassum overgrowth, leading to what FAU’s researchers have described as a triple threat to marine and human health. Additionally, data showed that beached Sargassum can contain high amounts of Vibrio bacteria, therefore, research is needed to assess the health risks of repurposing sargassum as soil, fertilizer, cosmetics, and other products.

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Improving human health.

From discovering cures to preventing illnesses, our research is exploring the ways that natural resources can elevate our well-being and uncover the impacts that changing environmental conditions have on our health.

Protecting our ecosystems and our economy.

Whether it’s finding more efficient ways to clean up oil spills or making earlier predictions of catastrophic weather events that can destroy lives and livelihoods, we’re finding innovative solutions for the ever-growing challenges facing our state.

Exploring the depths.

With a sustained focus on environmental research, we can address climate change, conserve our environment, and protect this planet we all call home.