Introduction to R2R

The Reef Institute

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Hello R2R community,

We would love to introduce ourselves to this wonderful community.

We are the Reef Institute and our mission is coral conservation through education, research and restoration. We are a small organization on a large mission to save the ocean.


A Little About Our Mission:

Scientists estimate that 50 -80% of all of the oxygen we breath comes from photosynthetic algae in the ocean. Much of this is produced specifically by the zooxanthellae algae living in the tissues of coral. No matter where you live in the world coral, affects your livelihood. For those of us on the Atlantic coast of the United States, our coastlines are directly effected by our coral reefs. The Florida Reef Tract is 365 miles long, running from Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of the Key West, north to Martin County. As the only barrier reef along the coast of the continental US it creates not only a habitat for literally millions of animals, but a wall of protection from waves and storm surge. It is estimated that this track breaks into patch reefs, and then deep sea reefs up to the northern US. Unfortunately, our coral is suffering greatly. As one scientist once said, “We don’t even know the full extent that coral protects us and the rest of the ocean.”

This is why the Reef Institute sees the importance of protecting our coast, along with educating the next generation on how to best care for the fragile reefs is vital.

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Our Research:

On the research side, we are a part of the Florida Coral Rescue Project. Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, was first discovered in 2014 and along with other environmental factors, has caused Florida coral reefs to decline to only a 3- 5% survival rate. We are the first holding facility to be given corals that have intentionally survived this disease zone. Our organization is also the only non zoo, museum or university to be part of this prestigious project. Additionally we are the only holding facility for Favia fragum, and are holding one of the largest single colonies currently rescued. Our other research projects include work with artificial reefs, and a large coral monitoring project in Palm Beach County, Florida

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Our Focus on Education:

For us, our research and education walk hand in hand. Educating the next generation on how to best care for the fragile reefs is vital. We offer many opportunities from outdoor classrooms to distance learning online. Working with the classroom teachers, we reinforce science concepts as students discuss marine science, and see live animals while we facilitate lessons.

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We would love for you to check out our website! We are excited to get to know hobbyists! Our board members, Executive Director, marine scientists and marine veterinarian will be on Reef2Reef to interact, learn, and help in any way we can. Some of our staff and board members are active hobbyist and are members to R2R community also. We are grateful for this community and can’t wait to get to know you! We are looking to offer some free virtual education to help you see our coral, and get to know us for both adults and kids very soon!
 

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Living the Reef Life
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This is awesome!! I'm so excited that you guys are here!!
 

knightnsd

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I am curious that as I read you were able to get some of the surviving corals from the dying areas, is it that each species of coral has slightly different genes that let them survive or are these the surviving species while many others were lost along with the coral diversity? I also saw adopt a coral comment and will look into that maybe from friends as a present for my birthday.
 

DeniseAndy

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Excellent!! Love the work! Welcome!

I would love to get together and talk with you guys. I run a small non-profit that does educational outreach programs in the area to classrooms for free. We also do programs in daycares, boys and girls clubs, schools, nature centers, etc. I bring a small reef (6g) with me to the programs.

I have put together some good programs that work with kids at different age groups. I have also written a book for kids about corals reefs. I am working towards an e book too.

Maybe we could talk and see if there is any way we can work together. Pm me if interested so I do not take any more time from your thread.
 
OP
The Reef Institute

The Reef Institute

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Excellent!! Love the work! Welcome!

I would love to get together and talk with you guys. I run a small non-profit that does educational outreach programs in the area to classrooms for free. We also do programs in daycares, boys and girls clubs, schools, nature centers, etc. I bring a small reef (6g) with me to the programs.

I have put together some good programs that work with kids at different age groups. I have also written a book for kids about corals reefs. I am working towards an e book too.

Maybe we could talk and see if there is any way we can work together. Pm me if interested so I do not take any more time from your thread.
Are you in Florida?
 
OP
The Reef Institute

The Reef Institute

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I am curious that as I read you were able to get some of the surviving corals from the dying areas, is it that each species of coral has slightly different genes that let them survive or are these the surviving species while many others were lost along with the coral diversity? I also saw adopt a coral comment and will look into that maybe from friends as a present for my birthday.
Hi! So yes, we are the first research facility to be able to hold rescued corals from the endemic or "diseased" zones. They are species of corals that have been identified as highly susceptible to "Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease," which is what has greatly affect the Florida Reef Tract, wiping our coral to about a 3% coverage. These species have been wiped out by the disease in other areas of the reef tract. However, there is something that has genetically helped these particular corals to become more resilient and it is one of our areas of research.
 

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