Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium this week announced plans for future development to further coral reef research and restoration in the Florida Keys and in Sarasota. This announcement is in direct response to the urgent plight Florida’s coral reef is facing. Warming waters, more acidic conditions due to higher carbon emissions, a devastating coral disease and other stressors have left the once-abundant reef near the brink of extinction.
At a press conference in the Florida Keys, Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote president and CEO, shared the organization’s plans to build an additional land-based coral nursery on the property of famed Bud n’ Mary’s Marina in Islamorada in the Upper Keys—the first of its kind on Islamorada. Additionally, Islamorada Conservation and Restoration Education (I.Care) will work with citizen-divers to help outplant and monitor Mote-supplied coral fragments onto Islamorada’s reefs. Mote is also moving forward on building a new coral gene bank within the 200-acre Mote Aquaculture Research Park in east Sarasota County.