Research and monitoring projects at the Reserve address priority issues impacting the productivity and biodiversity of the bay. These include: the diversion of water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed, increasing local coastal development/ land use changes and potential consequences of climate variability.
Monitoring efforts include the collection of continuous water quality, nutrient and meteorological data as part of the NERRS System-Wide Monitoring Program, the characterization of juvenile fish and macroinvertebrate abundances by monthly trawling and the protection of listed species such as nesting sea turtles and migratory shorebirds.
Important habitats that are monitored regularly include the barrier island beaches of Little St. George Island, wetland areas, aquatic vegetation and oyster reefs.
The Reserve works with several academic institutions. Through the NERRS Graduate Research Fellowship program, two graduate students are funded to conduct priority research in Apalachicola Bay.