Coral Aquaculture Research

The coral reefs in the Florida Keys are a unique national treasure that need to be protected. Reef decline has been demonstrated by an increase in coral diseases and coral bleaching, and a decrease in living coral cover.

Coral reefs are also impacted by ship groundings and hurricanes. In these cases, there is a need for new colonies to restore reefs following a disturbance.

Although the number of reef restoration projects in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and elsewhere is increasing, there has only been a limited amount of research to determine optimal techniques. Developing restoration techniques requires multiple colonies of a range of coral species impacted by groundings to evaluate the effectiveness of different restoration strategies.

A collaborative research effort between the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Mote is developing culture methods for hard corals at Mote's Tropical Research Laboratory field station in the Florida Keys. Our research is focused on developing culture or propagation methods for more than 20 species of hard corals under controlled environmental conditions for reef restoration research.
Coral colonies at the Tropical Research Lab were rescued from boat grounding and other environmental disturbances, stabilized in raceway tanks, fragmented and mounted on coral culture bases. Multiple colonies of all species are maintained in the environmentally controlled broodstock reserve facility where we maintain optimal light and water chemistry conditions. The corals in the broodstock reserve provide fragments for restoration research. Studies to determine optimal size, shape and season for restoration efforts will be conducted.

A research trial is ongoing to examine the effect of light on coral growth using four key hard coral species: elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), great star coral (Montastrea cavernosa) and boulder star coral (Montastrea annularis).
















About Us

Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages.

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Thursday 17