University of Florida


To live in harmony with the Florida environment, we need to be aware of how our lives intersect with and affect it. We offer information about the animal and plant species that live here, as well as the coasts, estuaries, forests, swamps, lakes, hammocks, and wetlands that make our state unique, so you can enjoy—and help preserve—these treasures.

To find out what Extension services are available in your area or to get personal assistance, please contact your county Extension office.

Youth take the plunge into environmental stewardship

Can you tell me how old a fish is just by looking at a slice of bone? That’s one question youth will learn how to answer in the Manatee Marine Explorers Day Camp created by two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agents. “There is so much more to the ocean than what you can see on the surface,” says Angela Collins, UF/IFAS Extension Sea Grant agent in Manatee County and co-organizer of the  More»

Florida’s Mangrove Forests

Mangroves are a kind of tree or shrub that typically grow on or near shorelines in tropical and subtropical climates such as Florida’s Gulf Coast. These plants are specially adapted to the wet, salty conditions where they grow.1 Mangrove forests play an important role in coastal ecosystems and also protect coastlines from erosion.1,2 Three species of mangroves are found in Florida:  More»

Wild Hogs

[Tweet "Found all over FL, these opportunistic eaters cause problems for livestock production and ecological conservation."]You may have seen a pig on a farm or at a county fair before, but do you know the difference between these pigs and what are known as wild hogs (sometimes also called wild or feral swine)? History To answer that question, we have to go back to the 1500s. At this time, Spanish explorers  More»

Hit a Snag? Not a Problem—If You’re Wildlife, That Is

[Tweet "Snags are an important source of food and shelter for many animals. #UFWildlife"]If you’re a woodpecker and you encounter a snag, that’s not a problem—it’s an opportunity. That’s because “snag” is the term for a dead or dying standing tree that’s a valuable shelter and food source for many animals.1 Why are snags important? Cavities in these dead or dying trees shelter birds, such as woodpeckers and  More»

April Wildlife Happenings

[Tweet "Find out what Florida wildlife are up to this April! #FLWildlifeHappenings"]Florida wildlife have spring fever! Be on the lookout for returning warblers, newborn river otters, nesting sea turtles, and more this month. More wildlife happenings… UF/IFAS Photo  More»

Marine Sponges

What is a sponge? There are more than 9,000 sponge species in the world’s oceans. Because they don’t move, you might think that sponges are plants, but they are actually considered animals—think of a sponge as a bunch of single-celled organisms that all work together to survive. These creatures feed by pumping and filtering water through the many holes and canals that make up the sponge structure.1 Harvesting Sponges Only few species  More»