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RSW Living Magazine

Mote Marine Laboratory Forms Partnership To Help Restore Florida's Reefs

Aug 02, 2018 05:35PM ● By Kevin

Photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium on Facebook.

Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota recently joined forces with members of the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge (CWVC) and SCUBAnauts International to plant corals and rebuild the reef near the Looe Key Sanctuary Preservation Area, according to an article posted to the laboratory's website in late June 2018.
The event marks the seventh year of the coral restoration partnership, which enables citizen science volunteers from CWVC and SCUBAnauts to participate in science-based marine habitat restoration.

The group of about 35 divers planted 300 corals on the reef on Tuesday, June 26, bringing the total number of corals planted by Mote in conjunction with members of the CWVC and SCUBAnauts to nearly 2,000, the article says. The corals were planted in a special restoration area dubbed Hero’s Reef, the story continues, in honor of all current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
"Mote has been studying coral ecosystems for decades and is an international leader in the development of innovative coral reef restoration technologies focused on growing threatened and reef building coral species for replanting on decimated or damaged sections of reefs throughout the Florida Keys in order to reverse decades of dramatic coral population decline," the article says.
in 2007, Mote established an underwater coral nursery. There, scientists grow colonies of the threatened staghorn coral for replanting on decimated or damaged sections of reef within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the article says.

"When the colonies reach a suitable size, small fragments nearly 2 inches long (about 5 cm) are snipped off and used to create a new colony — similar to the way new plants are grown from cuttings of existing plants. Then these cuttings are mounted on the reef so they can grow and develop into new colonies."
Mote scientists have planted more than 35,000 corals onto Florida’s reefs, working with multiple partners to achieve effective restoration.

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