Associate Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Tom Frazer is an ecologist whose recent research activities are focused on the potential ecological impacts of nutrient over-enrichment on the structure and function of ecosystems at the land-water interface. In support of this research, Frazer has garnered more than $3.5 million over the last five years. He is also “a role model for other faculty and IFAS as a whole, and routinely devotes considerable amounts of his time to mentoring junior research faculty,” says Karl Havens, his department chair.
The goal of his collective research efforts is to develop and transfer into management a mechanistic understanding of the ecological effects of nutrient enrichment in aquatic systems, with a major focus on spring-fed aquatic systems along Florida’s central Gulf coast. Achieving this goal will involve a series of inter-related objectives that hinge on sustained long-term and large-scale sampling programs in spring-fed rivers, estuaries and nearshore waters along Florida’s central Gulf coast that were implemented by Frazer and colleagues nearly a decade ago.
He and his collaborators have secured funding through 2009 to investigate decadal-scale variation in the chemical and vegetative characteristics of three spring-fed coastal rivers and additional multi-year funding for a complementary effort to study macroinvertebrates and fishes in these same systems. The ultimate objective of these combined projects is the development and parameterization of a dynamic model that describes ecosystem responses to variations in nutrient loads, flow rates and subsequent changes in habitat.
“Managers will be able to use these tools to help guide decisions related to issues such as water allocation, establishment of minimum flows and total maximum daily loads, as well as habit conservation and restoration,” Frazer says.