CRPA: In the Grass, On the Reef: Understanding linkages between coastal ecology and valued ecosystem services

July 15th, 2012 - June 30th, 2014 | PROJECT

In this Connecting Researchers to Public Audiences (CRPA) project, the researchers from Florida State University, in partnership with their local public broadcasting station (WFSU-TV), will engage the audience in an exploration of the ecosystem services of coastal habitats. The main content focus is the important linkages among coastal foundation species (oysters and salt marsh plants), the human and ecological communities they support, and the ecosystem services they provide. In particular, the project illuminates the roles of biodiversity and consume-prey relationships in influencing ecosystem services, while conveying the excitement of ecological research. The complementary target audiences are the general WFSU viewers and listeners, groups that actively use or promote coastal habitats, and graduate students at Florida State University and Florida A&M University. The main deliverables include: 1) a TV documentary, a series of short videos and radio spots; 2) a research blog; and 3) a science communication three-day workshop for current and future researchers to converse with the public about key learning goals. In addition, in year two of the grant, the PIs will deliver a monthly seminar series focused on effective communication skills for scientists. The resulting documentaries will be broadcast by WFSU and offered to other PBS stations via APT and/or NETA. Other materials will be made available via PBS Learning Media and other portals. Community group project collaborators, such as SciGirls and the Science Cafe, will extend the reach and impact of the project. The project design includes formative evaluation which will focus on ways to improve the accessibility and usability of the research blog, and summative evaluation which will review each component of the deliverables. Results of the summative evaluation will be posted on This proposal addresses the communication gap between scientists and the public by simultaneously targeting both audiences with deliverables designed to promote dialogue and understanding. By highlighting compelling natural history information and key ecological concepts associated with current research, the project will provide engaging educational experiences to a wide audience. These activities will not only educate the public about specific research but also demonstrate the process of science. Finally, the proposed seminar for students, along with the other informal learning opportunities throughout the project, will enhance the communication skills and outreach abilities of a diverse group of graduate students.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Randall Hughes, Former Principal Investigator, Florida State University
David Kimbro, Former Co-Principal Investigator, Florida State University
Roberto Diaz de Villegas, Contributor


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1161194
Funding Amount: 149896


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists | Undergraduate | Graduate Students
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Life science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media