At the first interdisciplinary meeting examining rising sea levels and their impact on the Sunshine State, participants also expressed concerns that Florida has done less than any other coastal state to prepare for the current and anticipated problems.

“Sea level has been rising since the last Ice Age, but became relatively stable over the last 5,000 years, encouraging substantial development of coastal areas,” said Reed Noss, a UCF biology professor and the organizer of the meeting. “The sea has been rising more rapidly in recent decades and will have huge impacts. This is not just a future concern. It is already having serious impacts on coastal environments in Florida and is certain to get worse.”

The meeting last week was sponsored by the Florida Institute for Conservation Science, a nonprofit think-tank. It represents the first major interdisciplinary effort to examine sea level rise in Florida and how society might respond to it.

“Florida stands to lose more from sea level rise than any other state in the U.S., yet has done less than any other coastal state to prepare for it,” said keynote speaker Orrin Pilkey from Duke University.

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