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Ryan Fikes is a trained biologist with expertise in coastal ecology and habitat restoration, and serves as Staff Scientist for NWF's Gulf Restoration Campaign. In this role, he provides in-house scientific expertise to identify and evaluate restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico that are scientifically sound, integrate with other projects, and have measurable milestones and outcomes. In addition, he advises the campaign on issues associated with the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill on habitats and wildlife, assists in evaluating the merits of state and national Gulf restoration plans, and helps to prioritize various restoration projects.
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BP Spill Impacts on Red Snapper — What We Know, What We Don’t

4/20/2014 // By Ryan Fikes

Red snapper are one of the Gulf’s signature sportfish, popular among recreational and commercial fishermen and prized at markets and restaurants. Due to this popularity, red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico have been overfished since the early 1980s, but […] Read more >

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Hatchery-raised Fish Cause Concern, Raise Need for More Research

4/3/2014 // By Ryan Fikes

A new study, recently released in the journal Aquaculture, highlights concerns that hatchery-raised trout appear to be slower than wild trout, making them more susceptible to predation once released. Scientists from Washington University have compared hatchery-raised and wild trout in […] Read more >

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10 Wildlife You [Probably] Didn’t Know Existed in the Gulf of Mexico

3/17/2014 // By Ryan Fikes

The Gulf of Mexico is home to more than 15,420 species; from the coastal estuaries to the deep sea floor, the biodiversity of the Gulf is astonishing! To highlight this diversity we thought that it would be fun to introduce you to […] Read more >

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Study: Deepwater Horizon Oil Causes Heart Damage in Tuna

2/14/2014 // By Ryan Fikes

A new study has found that a chemical in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill causes irregular heartbeats in bluefin and yellowfin tuna that can lead to heart attacks, or even death. The researchers believe that similar impacts […] Read more >

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Gulf Coast Wetlands Rapidly Declining

1/8/2014 // By Ryan Fikes

The Gulf of Mexico is losing more wetlands than anywhere else in the United States and it is losing them more rapidly than ever before, according to a new federal report that assessed the status of wetlands in the United […] Read more >

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The Toll on Gulf Oysters

12/21/2013 // By Ryan Fikes

It is small and slimy, and goes down easy with a little lemon. But the oyster isn’t just a treat for seafood lovers; these humble bivalves play an essential role in the ecology of the Gulf. An adult oyster can […] Read more >

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Restoring the Everglades, Restoring the Gulf

12/16/2013 // By Ryan Fikes

The Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico have much in common: They are both American treasures that have suffered from a half-century’s worth of degradation, resulting in ecosystems that are disappearing at an alarming rate, fisheries that are a mere […] Read more >

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Artificial Reefs: Restoration Beyond Recreation?

11/19/2013 // By Ryan Fikes

Over the past few decades the five Gulf States have built artificial reefs both inshore and offshore with the aim of enhancing recreational fishing and diving opportunities. State and local governments on the Gulf Coast have expressed interest in creating […] Read more >

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How Much Oil Is Still In the Gulf?

10/3/2013 // By Ryan Fikes

As the second phase of the civil trial over the Gulf oil disaster continues, we are hearing much discussion over exactly how many barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. Legally, this question is critical because it […] Read more >

A juvenile blue crab from a Gulf of Mexico estuary. Photo courtesy of ChesapeakeBayEO.

What is Happening to the Gulf’s Blue Crabs?

8/22/2013 // By Ryan Fikes

Blue crabs are one of nature’s survivors. This tough little creature—whose scientific name Callinectes sapidus translates to “savory beautiful swimmer”—is a critical part of the Gulf’s food chain, eaten by a wide variety of species from the Kemp’s ridley sea […] Read more >

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