Looking forward to seeing the growth and future of your efforts to save our coral reefs.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.
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
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.
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!