Conducting Research in the Preserve

The National Park Service welcomes your interest in considering Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve for your research site. The Preserve is responsible for protecting and regulating the use of areas within it's borders. Preserving park resources and providing for appropriate visitor use of the Preserve requires a full understanding of its cultural and natural resources. This can best be obtained through the long-term study and analysis of scientific data. The park has a research mandate to provide management with that understanding, using the highest quality science and information. Park managers increasingly recognize that timely and reliable scientific information is essential for sound decisions and interpretive programming.

The Timucuan Preserve welcomes proposals for scientific studies designed to increase our understanding of the human and ecological processes and resources in the Preserve.

Research in the Museum Collection

For over a century, museums have been an integral part of America's national parks. From modest beginnings in 1904 to today's state-of-the-art park museums and visitor centers, visitors have encountered engaging museums in units of the National Park Service. Museum collections are acquired through donation, field collections (such as research collecting or archeological projects), transfer, purchase, exchange or incoming loan. A Scope of Collection statement is written for each park to spell out what museum items are desired and appropriate, and what is not appropriate, for the park. NPS museum collections are used in a variety of ways. In keeping with the Service’s public trust responsibilities, most uses of collections are educational.

The primary uses are:
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Exhibits
  • Educational programs
  • Media products

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (TIMU) museum collection currently contains over 270,000 items. This includes archeological objects, history objects, natural history specimens (primarily a herbarium collection), archives and photographs. Finding aids are available for selected collections in the museum archives. Cataloging of the collections is still in progress.

Natural Resources Research

Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS)

A Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required for most scientific activities pertaining to natural resources or social science studies in National Park System areas that involve fieldwork, specimen collection, and/or have the potential to disturb resources or visitors. When permits are required for scientific activities pertaining solely to cultural resources, including archeology, ethnography, history, cultural museum objects, cultural landscapes, and historic and prehistoric structures, other permit procedures apply.

The National Park Service uses an Internet-based, information system called the Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS) to manage research permits. RPRS provides the following services to researchers who are interested in obtaining permission to conduct a natural resource or social science study:
  • Ability to review NPS permit requirements and application procedures
  • Ability to review permit conditions before beginning the application process
  • Ability to review accomplishments of previous research conducted in a park
  • Ability to review the types of research specific parks are especially interested in attracting
  • Ability to complete and submit an application for a scientific research and collecting permit

Please go online for more information about the NPS research permit process and to access the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System.

Cultural Resources Research

Permitting Process

All types of archeological fieldwork on park lands require NPS authorization in the form of a Permit for Archeological Investigations. Such activities include excavation, shovel testing, coring, pedestrian survey (even if not involving artifact removal), underwater archeology, rock art documentation, or other types of reconnaissance. A permit may be issued under ARPA or the Antiquities Act or both. Permits for archeological projects carried out on federal lands have been issued since 1907 under the legal authority of the Antiquities Act and Antiquities Act regulations.

Cultural research activities using only the library, outside archives, or the Internet do not require a permit. However, please let us know if you will be researching any of the subjects we have identified or other topics related to the preserve. We would appreciate a copy of your final paper for our park reference / research collection.

The Application for Permit for Archeological Investigations can be found at

Coordinate your application for research of cultural resources with Steven Kidd, Chief of Science and Resource Management at 904-805-7510.

Recommended Topics for Research in the Timucuan Preserve

Natural Resources

  • Impacts of sea level rise on the use of the estuarine system as a nursery area
  • Air quality and the effects of ozone and mercury deposition on certain plant species
  • The impacts of feral hogs on native plants, wildlife, and water quality
  • Water quantity and the effects of coastal engineering on timing, volume, and spatial distribution of flows
  • Inventory scenic natural vistas
  • Natural resource inventory of sand dune “Nana” located in American Beach on Amelia Island
  • Predator dynamics and the impact of coyotes on preserve native species
  • Identify species of fireflies and their habitat in the preserve
  • Examine core drillings to determine historic plant and animal communities of the area
  • Synthesis and condition report of fin fish health and population within the preserve

Human-Dimensions of Natural Resources (Social Science)

  • River and marsh use and impacts on use of riparian and riverine environments
  • Anthropogenic impacts of sea level rise on the estuarine system and fish & wildlife nursery area
  • Human use of materials and sources of microplastics on preserve aquatic and nearshore environments.
  • What are visitor attitudes and conceptions regarding climate change impacts on the preserve?
  • What are park neighbor and visitor knowledge and/or concerns for invasive species in the preserve?
  • How do stakeholders and the public value the natural environments of the preserve and uses of those resources?
  • What conflicts exist among preserve users, stakeholders, and partners with regard to natural resource values?
  • What is the effect of human activities in speeding or slowing the process of plant succession

Cultural Resources

  • Establish the cultural ecological approach to how prehistoric/early historic cultures utilized subsistence strategies along coastal areas
  • Establish the potential for Paleoindian sites within the Preserve boundaries
  • Identify Timucua sites based on locations detailed in French and Spanish accounts
  • Identify the location of the other associated buildings at Kingsley Plantation, e.g., the carpenter’s building, blacksmith shop, etc.
  • Investigate Zephaniah Kingsley’s other properties in the Fort Caroline area
  • Create an inventory of primary source documents for Fort Caroline
  • Create an inventory of primary resources or documentation about/from the people who lived at Kingsley Plantation
  • Create an inventory of primary source documentation for Dos Hermanas, San Estaban, San Gabriel, Fort Caroline and San Mateo
  • Create an inventory of primary documents about American Beach history and ownership
  • Obtain legal documents related to Kingsley landholdings
  • Obtain digital copies of James Hamilton Papers, 1784-1892, including correspondence with Zephaniah Kingsley
  • Develop a comprehensive history of the Hazard, Tucker, McQueen, McIntosh, Gibbs and Rollins occupations on Fort George Island
  • Obtain Legal documents related to the Spanish and British occupations of the St. Johns Bluff
  • Develop/acquire historical accounts for Thomas Creek and the Spanish-American War Battery
  • Utilize the Trans-Atlantic slave trade database to investigate the slave-trading practices of Zephaniah Kingsley
  • Perform an archaeological investigation of the Fitzpatrick Plantation ruins
  • Conduct cultural landscape inventories of sites within the Preserve (ex. Broward House, Fitzpatrick Ruins)
  • Collect oral histories about American Beach
  • Collect oral histories about the Theodore Roosevelt Area
  • Collect and record Evans Rendezvous jazz club site history at American Beach

Additional Research Resources

U.S. Department of Interior
NPS Archeology
NPS Discover History
NPS Cultural Resource Grants
NPS Cultural Resource Publications
NPS Ethnography
History E-Library
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
NPS Southeast Archeological Center
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
The American Antiquities Act of 1906
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966
Archaeological Resources Protection Act
NHPA Section 106 regulations
NPS Research Learning Centers
Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit
FirstGov for Science
NPS Geoscientists in the Parks
National Park Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
Integrated Resource Management Applications
NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program
NPSpecies: The National Park Service Species Database


Are you looking for more data on park science? Check out the latest report on water quality monitoring, or visit one of the National Park resources below.

Natural Resource Publications Management

Inventory & Monitoring in Parks

Last updated: September 12, 2023

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