The Inter-American Seas Research Consortium (ISRC), founded at The Florida State University in 2011, addresses the confluence of economic, cultural, and ecological problems of the Inter-American Seas (including the large marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the southeast U.S. Continental Shelf) that derive from the region's physical and social connectivity. This region is enormously underserved by all forms of research despite its high economic value and geostrategic importance. The long-term prospects of national economies throughout the region are inextricably tied to the health of its natural resources, which bind the U.S. with its Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Addressing these issues requires an integrated understanding of the ecological, cultural, and economic parameters surrounding policy decisions and the capacity to address problems that arise in legal and political arenas -- on land, in coastal waters, and in the deep seas.
Coastal development, fisheries, petroleum extraction, tourism, and transportation are both enabled and threatened by intensifying usage of the waters of the Inter-American Seas. To meet these challenges, The ISRC leverages the resources of Florida State University to conduct interdisciplinary, problem-solving research to promote regional sustainable use, conservation-oriented public policy, and risk-averse management. This mirrors the approach used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Nations in developing large marine ecosystem policy.
The main thrust of The ISRC is threefold: (1) to address the leading physical, ecological, and socio-economic issues of our time through interdisciplinary workshops including FSU, national, and international scholars; (2) to train scholars with strong knowledge-bases linking the natural and social sciences that underlie the most pressing coastal and marine conservation, economic, and management issues to evaluate and design marine-relevant policies at multiple jurisdictional levels and to become the academic and professional leaders of the next generation; and (3) to combine the capabilities and expertise of our faculty with both governmental and industry partners to address society's greatest social and ecological challenges.