SGP partners and many others have been working to assess their collective science needs, which began with the development of the Gulf Coast Prairie LCC Science Plan, and now continues informally among partners.
One of their first steps in science planning was to identify “focal species” that inhabit the area, a total of 28. Focal species are sometimes called “indicator species,” “representative species,” or “surrogate species,” but they all mean generally the same thing—they will receive special attention.
Science projects that benefit focal species will be given priority because ensuring their health is most likely to result in productive habitats and healthy ecosystems that can support self-sustaining populations of a much broader array of wildlife.
Similarly, partners also defined 17 associated habitats that support focal species and many other natural and cultural resources within the SGP area. These are broadly defined and meant to help direct partners’ efforts to link species to habitat needs, communicate about conservation work, and direct science resources.