Research and monitoring projects at the Reserve address priority issues impacting the productivity and biodiversity of the bay: the diversion of water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed, increasing local coastal development and land use changes, and potential consequences of climate variability.
The collection of continuous water quality, nutrient load samples in the bay, and meteorological data are the Apalachicola Reserve's contribution to the NERRS System-Wide Monitoring Program. Additional ongoing projects include monthly trawl sampling that provides data for characterization of juvenile fish and macroinvertebrate abundances, and regular surveys to monitor and protect listed species such as nesting sea turtles and migratory shorebirds.
The scope of these monitoring projects covers a range of important habitats: 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.