Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Pallab Mozumder

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Hugh Gladwin

Third Advisor's Name

Michael Ross

Date of Defense



Slivers of land amidst the nation’s premier marine ecosystem, the Florida Keys provide unique insights into the challenges of adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise. By learning how Florida Keys experts (federal, state, regional, and local management personnel, environmental specialists, policymakers, and community leaders) are anticipating these challenges, I identify barriers to adaptation; explore information and programmatic approaches to enhance adaptive capacity, maximize resilience, and minimize adverse impacts; investigate willingness to support a Community Adaptation Fund and test potential finance mechanisms.

Analysis of survey responses from 225 Florida Keys experts reveals decision makers are operating with limited resources and lack institutional frameworks to execute adaptation. Seventy-five percent support the creation of a Community Adaptation Fund. An Overseas Highway toll and surcharge on hotels and motels look promising to finance the fund. Findings from this research can be used to inform stakeholders, and galvanize adaptation in the Florida Keys and vulnerable communities worldwide.





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