Requests for Proposals I


RFP I was released in February 2015 to address coastal fisheries, and wildlife ecosystem research and monitoring in the Gulf Coast Region. Primary objectives included improving data and information products to:

  • Enhance biological observations (including real- or near-real time) required for monitoring fisheries, wildlife, and related productivity.
  • Assess and map habitat (especially Essential Fish Habitat as defined by state and Federal Management) location and condition.
  • Increase and improve fisheries independent data for stock assessments (benchmark and updates).

Another goal was to develop innovative approaches and technologies to:

  • Assess fish populations, fishing activities, ecosystem impacts of fishing activities and pressure on resources.
  • Improve recreational fisheries data collection (including landings and bycatch).
  • Promote the pace, scope, and efficacy of stock assessments.
  • Increase trust in fisheries data, related syntheses, and products (e.g. models).

In 2015, FRLACEP committed $2.72 million for support of eight Centers of Excellence and ten science and technology projects focused on RA discipline 2 (coastal fisheries and wildlife research and monitoring) and RA discipline 5 (comprehensive ecosystem monitoring and mapping in the Gulf of Mexico region). The CoEs completed the projects in 2018 resulting in 38 peer-reviewed publications, dissertations, or theses, 26 published datasets, and supported 56 students.

Requests for Proposals I

Research Projects

Examining fisheries impacts of invasive lionfish with an Ecopath with Ecosim model

P.I.: Michael Allen, University of Florida

Biological and economic indicators for assessing recreational fisheries

P.I.: Jerald Ault, University of Miami

Co-Investigators: Steven Smith, University of Miami; Vernon Leeworthy, NOAA ONMS; Danielle Schwarzmann, NOAA ONMS

Improving products derived from monitoring data in ecosystem models of the Gulf of Mexico

P.I.: Elizabeth Babcock, University of Miami

Co-Investigators: Arnaud Gruss, University of Miami; Cameron Ainsworth University of South Florida; Tracey Sutton, NOVA Southeastern University

Fishery-independent surveys of reef fish community, size, and age structure off NW FL

P.I.: Kevin Boswell, Florida International University

Co-Investigators: William Patterson, University of Florida; Pedersen Geir, CMR Norway

Evaluating fish production and ecosystem impacts of artificial reefs

P.I.: Jane Caffrey, University of West Florida

Co-Investigators: William Patterson, University of Florida; Robert Turpin, Escambia County

Monitoring oil spill effects and recovery in large deep-sea fishes

P.I.: Dean Grubbs, Florida Statue University

Co-Investigators: Charles Cotton, Florida State University; James Gelsleichter, University of North Florida

Demonstration of Fisheries Assessment Applications for underwater gliders

P.I.: Chad Lembke, University of South Florida

Co-Investigators: Susan Lowerre-Barbierri, FWRI/University of Florida; David Mann, Loggerhead Instruments; Chris Taylor, NOAA NOSSteve Murawski, University of South Florida

Ontogenetic shifts in sea turtle habitat use and foraging ecology

P.I.: Katherine Mansfield, University of Central Florida

Egg and larval barcoding for Gulf DEPM stock assessments

P.I.: Ernst Peebles, University of South Florida

Co-Investigators: Mya Breitbart, University of South Florida

Hardbottom mapping and community characterization of the west-central Florida Gulf Coast

P.I.: Brian Walker, NOVA Southeastern University

Co-Investigators: Mya BreitbartChris Stallings & Steve Murawski, University of South Florida; Kevin Boswell, Florida International University; James Locascio, Mote Marine Lab; David Chagaris, University of Florida



Ault, J.S., Smith, S.G., Johnson, M.W., Estes, J., Bohnsack, J.A., DiNardo, G.T., Grove, L.J.W., McLaughlin, C., McDonough, V., Seki, M.P., Miller, S.L., Luo, J., Crosby, M.P., Simpson, G., Feeley, M.W., & Acosta, A. 2022. Length-based sustainability risk analysis of the southern Florida USA coral reef fishery. Fisheries Research 249: 106210

White, A.L., Patterson III, K.M. Boswell, 2022. Distribution of acoustic fish backscatter associated with natural and artificial reefs in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries Research, 248.

Schwarzmann, D., Leeworthy, B. Smith, S.G., Ault, J.S., 2022. Bioeconomics of Florida’s recreational fisheries. Water, in review.


Polidoro, B., C.W. Matson, M.A. Ottinger, D.A. Renegar, I.C. Romero, D. Schlenk, J.P. Wise Sr., J.B. González, P. Bruns, K. Carpenter, D.C. Rojas, T.K. Collier, T.F. Duda Jr., P. González-Díaz, R. Di Giulio, R.D. Grubbs, J.C. Haney, J.P. Incardona, G. Horta-Puga, C. Linardich,.J.A. Moore, D. Pech, S.P. Valderrama, G.M. Ralph, K. Strongin,.A.H. Ringwood, B. Würsig, 2021. A multi-taxonomic framework for assessing relative petrochemical vulnerability of marine biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico. Science of The Total Environment 763: p.142986.

Prohaska, B.K., B.S. Talwar, R.D. Grubbs, 2021. Blood biochemical status of deep-sea sharks following longline capture in the Gulf of Mexico. Conservation Physiology 9(1), p.coaa113.

Ault J. S., Smith S. G., Johnson M. W., Estes J., Bohnsack J. A., DiNardo G. T., Grove L. J. W., McLaughlin C., McDonough V., Seki M. P., Miller S. L., Luo J., Crosby M. P., Simpson G., Nadon M. O., Feeley M. W., Acosta A. 2021. Length-based sustainability risk analysis of the southern Florida USA coral reef fishery. Fisheries Research, in press.


Walker, B.K., S. Eagan, C. Ames, S. Brooke, S Keenan, R. Baumstark, 2020. Shallow water coral communities support the separation of marine ecoregions on the west-central Florida Gulf Coast. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00210

Kerr, M., J. Browning, E-M Bønnelycke, Y. Zhang, C. Hu, M. Armenteros, S. Murawski, E. Peebles, M. Breitbart, 2020. DNA barcoding of fish eggs collected off northwestern Cuba and across the Florida Straits demonstrates egg transport by mesoscale eddies. Fisheries Oceanography 29: doi: 10.1111/fog.12475

Larsen, M.E., D.C. Abel, D.P. Crane, R.D. Grubbs, 2020. Differences in Relative Heart Mass Among Deep-sea and Coastal Sharks with Increasing Depth. Marine Biology 167(11): 1-8.

Chagaris, D.D., W.F. Patterson III, M.S. Allen, 2020. Relative effects of multiple stressors on reef food webs in the northern Gulf of Mexico revealed via ecosystem modelling. Frontiers in Marine Science. DOI: doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00513. 

Luo, J., Ault , J.S., Ungar, B., Smith, S.G., Larkin, M.F., Davidson, T.N., Bryan, D.R., Farmer, N.A., Holt, S., Alford, S., Adams, A., Humston, R., Marton, A., Mangum, D., Kleppinger, R., Requejo, A., Robertson, J. 2020. Migrations and movements of Atlantic tarpon revealed by two decades of satellite tagging. Fish and Fisheries 21(2): 290-318. doi: 10.1111/faf.12430.

Boswell, K.M., G. Pedersen, J.C. Taylor, S. Labua, W.F. Patterson III, 2020. Examining the relationship between morphological variation and modeled broadband scattering responses of reef-associated fishes from the Southeast United States. Fisheries Research, 228. DOI:

​​Babcock, K.K., F. Cesbron, W.F. Patterson III, S.B. Garner, L.A. Waidner, J.M. Caffrey, 2020. Changing Biogeochemistry and Invertebrate Community Composition at Newly Deployed Artificial Reefs in the Northeast Gulf of Mexico. Coastal and Estuarine Research. DOI 10.1007/s12237-020-00713-4.


Garner, S.B., K.M. Boswell, J.P. Lewis, J.H. Tarnecki, W.F. Patterson III, 2019. Effect of reef morphology and depth on fish community and tropic structure in the northcentral Gulf of Mexico. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 230.

Burrows, M., J.S. Browning, M. Breitbart, S.A. Murawski, and E.B. Peebles, 2019. DNA barcoding reveals clear delineation between spawning sites for neritic versus oceanic fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries Oceanography 28:228–239.

Gruss, A., M.D. Drexler, E. Chancellor, C.H. Ainsworth, J.S. Gleason, J.M. Tirpak, M.S. Love, E.A. Babcock, 2019. Representing species distributions in a spatially-explicit ecosystem models from presence-only data. Fisheries Research, 210: 89-105. DOI:

Stevens, M.H., Smith, S.G., Ault, J.S. 2019. Life history demographic parameter synthesis for Florida and Caribbean reef fishes. Fish and Fisheries 20: 1196-1217. doi: 10.1111/faf.12405.

Cesbron, F., M.C. Murrell, M.E.Hagy, W.H. Jeffrey, W.F. Patterson III, J.M. Caffrey, 2019. Patterns in phytoplankton and benthic production on the shallow continental shelf in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Continental Shelf Research, 179: 105-114. DOI:

Ault, J.S., S.G. Smith, J.A. Bohnsack, J. Luo, M.H. Stevens, G.T. DiNardo, M.W. Johnson, D.R. Bryan, 2019. Length-based risk analysis for assessing sustainability of data-limited tropical reef fisheries. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 76(1): 165-180. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsy123.

Lirman, D., Ault, J.S., Fourqurean, J.W., Lorenz, J.J. 2019. The coastal marine ecosystem of south Florida, United States. World Seas: an environmental evaluation. 2nd Ed. Sheppard, C., ed. Volume I: Europe, The Americas, and West Africa. Chapter 17, Pages 427-444.

Perrot, V, W.M. Landing, R.D. Grubbs, V.J.M. Salters, 2019. Mercury bioaccumulation in tilefish from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico 2 years after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Insights from Hg, C, N and S stable isotopes, Science of the Total Environment 666: 828-838.

Larsen, M.E., D.C. Abel, D.P. Crane, S.L. Parker, P.H. Yancey, B.A. Keller, R.D. Grubbs, 2019. Unique Osmoregulatory Morphology in Primitive Sharks: An Intermediate State Between Holocephalan and Derived Shark Secretory Morphology. J. of Fish Biology.

Putman, N.F., E.E. Seney, P. Verley, D. Shaver, M. López-Castro, M. Cook, V. Guzmán, B. Brost, S. Ceriani, M. Díaz, J. Raúl, L.J. Peña, M. Tzeek, R. Valverde, C. Cantón, L. Howell, J. Ley, M. Tumlin, W. Teas, C. Caillouet Jr., E. Cuevas, B. Gallaway, P. Richards, and K.L. Mansfield. 2019. Predicted distributions and abundances of the sea turtle “lost years” in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Ecography. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.04929.


Peebles, E., K. Boswell, M. Breitbart, J. Browning, M. Burrows, D. Chagaris, S. Grasty, C. Lembke, J. Locascio, S. Murawski, B. V. Nguyen, M. Schram, C. Stallings, N. Tucker, and J. Vecchio, 2018. Spawning habitat & early-life linkages to fisheries (SHELF): Preliminary report for the two-year pilot study, 2017-18.Technical report submitted to the Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence Program.

Lembke, C., S. Lowerre-Barbieri, D. Mann, J.C. Taylor, 2018. Using three acoustic technologies on underwater gliders to survey fish.  Marine Technology Society Journal, 52(6): 39-52.

Gruss, A., H.A. Perryman, E.A. Babcock, S.R. Sagarese, J.T. Thorson, C.H. Ainsworth, E.J. Anderson, K. Brennan, M.D. Campbell, M.C. Christman, S. Cross, M.D. Drexler, J.M. Drymon, C.L. Gardner, D.S. Hanisko, J. Hendon, C.C. Koenig, M. Love, F. Martinez-Andrade, J. Morris, B.T. Noble, M.A. Nuttall, J. Osborne, C. Pattengill-Semmens, A.G. Pollack, T.T. Sutton, T.S. Switzer, 2018. Monitoring programs of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: inventory, development and use of a large monitoring database to map fish and invertebrate spatial distributions. Review of Fisheries Biology, 28: 667-691. DOI:

Gruss, A., M.D. Drexler, C.H. Ainsworth, J.J. Roberts, R.H. Carmichael, N.F. Putnam, P.M. Richards, E. Chancellor, E.A. Babcock, M.S. Love, 2018. Improving the spatial allocation of marine mammal and sea turtle biomasses in spatially explicit ecosystem models. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 602: 255-274. DOI:

Gruss, A., M.D. Drexler, C.H. Ainsworth, E.A. Babcock, J.H. Tarnecki, M.S. Love, 2018. Producing distribution maps for a spatially-explicit ecosystem model using large monitoring and environmental databases and a combination of interpolation and extrapolation. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5(16). DOI: doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00016.

Gruss, A., D.D. Chagaris, E.A. Babcock, J.H. Tarnecki, 2018. Assisting ecosystem-based fisheries management efforts using a comprehensive survey database, a large environmental database, and generalized additive models. Marine and Coastal Fisheries Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science, 10: 40-70. DOI: 10.1002/mcf2.10002.

Perrot, V, W.M. Landing, R.D. Grubbs, V.J.M. Salters, 2019. Mercury bioaccumulation in tilefish from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico 2 years after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Insights from Hg, C, N and S stable isotopes, Science of the Total Environment 666: 828-838.

Daly-Engel, T.S., I.E. Baremore, R.D. Grubbs, S.J.B. Gulak, M.P. Enzenauer, R.T. Graham, 2018. Resurrection of the bigeye sixgill shark Hexanchus vitulus (Hexanchiformes, Hexanchidae), with comments on its distribution in the northwest Atlantic Ocean.  Mar Biodiv.

Brooks, K.K., 2018. Changes in primary production, nutrient fluxes, and rates of succession following the deployment of an artificial reef system in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. M.S. thesis. University of West Florida. 


O’Farrell, A. Gruss, S.R. Sagarese, E.A. Babcock, K.A. Rose, 2017. Ecosystem modeling in the Gulf of Mexico: current status and future needs to address ecosystem-based fisheries management and restoration activities. Review of Fisheries Biology, 27: 587-614. DOI: 10.1007/s11160-017-9482-1.

Gruss, A. J.T. Thorson, S.R. Sagarese, E.A. Babcock, M. Karnauskas, J.F. Walter III, M. Drexler, 2017. Ontogenetic spatial distributions of red grouper (Epinphelus morio) and gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis) in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries Research, 193: 129-142. DOI:

Gruss, A., J.T. Thorson, E.A. Babcock, J.H. Tarnecki, 2017. Producing distribution maps for informing ecosystem-based fisheries management using a comprehensive survey database and spatio-temporal models. ICES Journal of Marine Science. DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsx120.

Walter, R.P., D. Roy, N.E. Hussey, B. Stelbrink, K.M. Kovacs, C. Lydersen, B.C. McMeans, J. Svavarsson, S.T. Kessel, S.B. Porsmoguer, S. Wildes, C. Tribuzio, S.E. Campana, S. Petersen, R.D. Grubbs, D.D. Heath, K.J. Hedges, A.T. Fisk, 2017. Origins of the Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus): impacts of Ice-olation and Introgression. Ecology and Evolution 7(19), pp.8113-8125.


Gruss, A., E.A. Babcock, S.R. Sagarese, M. Drexler, D.D. Chagaris, C.H. Ainsworth, B. Penta, S. deRada, T.T. Sutton, 2016. Improving the spatial allocation of functional group biomasses in spatially-explicit ecosystem models: insights from three Gulf of Mexico Models. Bulletin of Marine Science, 92(4): 473-496. DOI:

Gaither, M.R., B. Violi, H.W.I. Gray, F. Neat, J.C. Drazen, R.D. Grubbs, A. Roa-Varón, T. Sutton, A.R. Hoelzel, 2016. Depth as a driver of evolution in the deep sea: Insights from grenadiers (Gadiformes: Macrouridae) of the genus Coryphaenoides Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 104: 73-82.