Mote scientist Erinn Muller studies coral reefs.

With new funding from the Jacksonville-based Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is continuing to push forward with its coral research and restoration initiative. As a designated partner in the foundations' new "Environmental Engagement, Stewardship, & Solutions" grant-making program, Mote will receive two years of funding for $250,000 to study resilient corals to be used in restoration efforts. Corals worldwide, including those on the Florida Reef Tract, face massive threats from climate change, as rising ocean temperatures and decreasing pH levels alter the marine environment that corals are dependent on. Additionally, devastating stony coral tissue loss disease along Florida’s reef is causing mass mortality among more than 20 species of corals as the disease stretches from Miami to Key West and beyond. With the funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Mote coral scientists will identify resilient coral genotypes and the mechanism behind their resiliency, and anticipate the effects of various climate scenarios on individual species of coral and entire reef ecosystems. Mote is one of the only marine research organizations focusing simultaneously on all three major threats to coral species: coral disease, rising water temperature and changes in pH.

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