Sanibel & Captiva Chamber of Commerce board chair Calli Johnson, a fourth-generation co-owner of Bailey’s General Store, is on the cruise as one of FGCU’s dive safety officers. She is pictured here with Milbrandt as the cruise ventured out to sea today.
“I am excited to document the changes caused by Hurricane Ian to our local waters. It’s important to me from a scientific perspective as well as from a business standpoint; when our waters are healthy that means positive changes for our tourism-based economy and for the fishermen on our waters daily,” said Johnson.
In organizing the cruise, FIO capitalized on its partnerships across the state, with members stepping up to provide data, logistical support, equipment, and scientific supplies to FGCU and SCCF.
“Like FIO’s response to the Piney Point discharge event, the deployment of resources to the areas impacted by Ian shows the importance of our state-supported mission. We are focused on bringing the best science capabilities of Florida’s universities and organizations to the forefront of these coastal ecosystems to better understand the storm’s overall impact,” said Dr. Monty Graham, director of FIO.
Data collection will focus on water quality and the hurricane’s impact on coastal geology. Scientists at FGCU and SCCF have long-term data to evaluate how local ecosystems and water quality were affected by the hurricane.