Coral reefs are the richest and most complex ecosystems of all marine environments. Today, reefs are threatened by dredging, ship grounding, pollution, illegal collecting, harsh weather events, disease, and global warming.
Aquaculture research provides us with the knowledge needed to populate our aquarium exhibits sustainably, while also populating species for environmental restoration.
The Center for Conservation and partners have been developing coral aquaculture techniques to populate corals for restoration of Florida Keys Reefs. Our research pursuits have focused on questions of health assessment, species selection, genetic identification, system design, gamete collection and culture, and drug treatments for common coral diseases. In the process, we are actively transplanting corals to damaged reefs, thus contributing to ecosystem restoration in the process.