UF Croc Docs Visit St. Lucie County Feb. 10

University of Florida-IFAS Extension

University of Florida-IFAS Extension


The University of Florida’s “Croc Docs” are a specialized team of biologists, ecological modelers, and outreach specialists who are right on the forefront of wildlife research in south Florida and the Caribbean.  They conduct long-term, applied research and monitoring focused on crocodilians, invasive reptiles, threatened and endangered species, climate change, and human dimensions.  In collaboration with federal, state, local and tribal agencies, the Croc Docs respond to pressing wildlife management needs and provide scientific support for Everglades restoration.

The Croc Docs will be presenting a program on “Invasives: Past, Present and Future” as part of the Florida Master Naturalist St. Lucie Chapter’s lecture series on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Savannas Preserve State Park, 2541 SE Walton Road, Port St Lucie.  They will talk about their past and ongoing research, and what can be expected here in St. Lucie County.

You may have seen them on public television with their python study in the Everglades ecosystem. The Croc Docs team members venture into the Everglades, search and seek out these environmental invasives, capture them and bring them back into their labs for further study.  Some of the current Croc Doc projects include Everglades invasive reptile and amphibian monitoring program, monitoring of American alligators and American crocodiles as indicators of Everglades restoration, research and conservation of the critically endangered Hicatee in Belize, public awareness and attitudes about invasive lionfish in Florida, community cat conservation and crocodile monitoring in Belize, and radiotelemetry and control of Burmese pythons.

The Croc Docs themselves have invaded St. Lucie County. They have begun an invasive species monitoring program here in our area with the assistance of a group of trained Florida master naturalists.  The goal of this research is to determine which species have migrated this far north from other counties, and in what numbers.  Master Naturalists working on this study are: Mary and Doug Calo, Karl Mangino, Cindy Christie, Jerry Bott and Terry Brown.  The local coordinator for the group is Ken Gioeli, and co-leader is Amanda Thompson.

Dr. Frank Mazzoti is a Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Florida.  His areas of expertise are conservation and landscape ecology, endangered and invasive species and environmental education.  Dr. Mazzoti and his staff are currently evaluating and assessing risks and impacts of invasive species and climate change in the Everglades and conservation programs in Belize and Jamaica.  Dr. Mazzoti received his PhD in Ecology in 1983 from Pennsylvania State University, and has published many articles and studies on invasive species.

Mike Rochford, B.S., biology from Kansas State University, Invasive Species Coordinator with the University of Florida at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is the project manager for the Everglades Invasive Reptile and Amphibian monitoring Program (EIRAMP) and an active participant in monitoring programs for the American alligators and American crocodiles. He previously worked with the Burmese python radio-telemetry and diet research, and has co-authored and published papers and articles with Dr. Mazzoti and colleagues.

The Florida Master Naturalist Program in St. Lucie County is a collaborative effort of the UF/IFAS St. Lucie County Extension and partner agencies such as the St. Lucie County Environmental Lands Division and the Savannas Preserve State Park.


What:                  The UF “Croc Docs” Visit St. Lucie County When:                 Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.

Where: Savannas Preserve State Park, 2541 SE Walton Road, Port St Lucie

Cost:                    Free-of-charge

Registration:      None.  Open to general public.

Information:      Contact Mary White, President, Florida Master Naturalists, St. Lucie    Chapter at fmnmarywhite@gmail.com or 772-359-6213 or call the park education center office at 772-398-2779 for info.





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  • Posted 8 years ago

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