Are you looking for the fastest and easiest way to get the latest news and information about coral conservation? Then check out the new mobile version of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) website. The site features news and feature stories, coral facts, and photos, plus a mobile-optimized version of a glossary and acronyms from the NOAA Coral Reef Information System (CoRIS).
Have a smartphone? Point your camera at this QR code to link to the new Coral Reef Conservation Program mobile website.
Nova Southeastern University officially opened its new Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach, Florida. Image credit: Nova Southeastern University
Dania Beach, Florida, a small coastal city about 10 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, is best known as a jai-alai haven and home of the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame. It’s also where, for more than a decade, researchers at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Oceanographic Center have quietly studied coral ecosystems in association with the National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI), administered by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
Late last month, coral research at Dania Beach made its way to the limelight when NSU officially opened its new Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. The 86,000-square-foot research facility is now the largest in the nation dedicated to the study of coral reef ecosystems. The center will host coral specialists from across the globe, and make it possible for groundbreaking coral research to continue in the controlled setting of a state-of-the-art laboratory.
Indeed, it can be difficult to study corals “in the field,” since both corals and the scientists who seek to learn more about them are vulnerable to the ever-changing coastal conditions of weather and open water. NSU researchers, however, have made great strides in the arena of growing and studying corals in tanks, and, in the process, learned much about the fragile, single-celled sea creatures whose calcium-based exoskeletons form the foundation of one of Earth’s most diverse and productive ecosystems.
The new center’s pumping system delivers seawater directly into the coral nursery, where scientists will oversee the growth and development of many important species, some of which will later be transplanted in the wild. This new generation of corals will serve a purpose both enlightening – as scientists study them further—and practical—as they fortify and repair existing coral colonies, which are on the decline worldwide.
NSU’s tank-based research is also improving understanding of the impacts of chemical pollutants and oil spills on coral ecosystems. Through controlled experiments on live corals, researchers can now attribute certain changes in corals’ health and growth to the presence or absence of a specific contaminant. Such studies are difficult to conduct in open-water settings.
NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.