Skip to main content

Florida school opens coral reef research center

The Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center celebrated the grand opening of its Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Science Research Thursday with an appearance by former Vice President Al Gore and a photo op of university president George Hanbury diving on a coral reef nursery off Fort Lauderdale.

The $50 million, 82,000-square-foot facility on Nova’s 10-acre oceanography campus on Dania Beach’s Intracoastal Waterway is the country’s largest center for coral reef study and a first step toward Nova’s goal of becoming a major research university.

“We have another research facility planned for the main campus,” Hanbury said. That one will be 220,000 square feet and cost at least $100 million to build. It will be devoted to biological, biotechnology, medical, pharmaceutical and high-technology research.

Hanbury said he expects Nova to be contracting $300 million in research by 2020.

Gore, who said he has seen Florida’s reefs firsthand as a scuba diver, said they are “amazing” and talked about the impact of global warming and acidic oceans.

“Coral reef ecosystems can be saved by the research going on in this facility," he said.

The center has a land-based nursery where corals are cultured in large tanks for transplant on damaged reefs when they are mature enough. It also tends a nursery in the ocean off Fort Lauderdale where researchers plant staghorn coral fragments and grow them into mature corals that they either harvest for transplant on reefs or use as sources of branches that they plant in their nursery and grow into larger corals.

“As we are able to learn more about these species we can improve the health of the reefs, improve the health of the fisheries and improve our economy,” said David Gilliam, an assistant professor at the coral reef center. “This is doable.”

The coral reefs generate about $6 billion and 71,000 jobs for South Florida’s economy through diving and reef fishing tourism. “It’s amazing that we have so much coral off our coast,” said Capt. Todd Rogers, owner-operator of the 46-foot American Dream II diveboat. “We don’t know anything about coral, so this [research] is going to help.”

Nova has 28,000 students, 80 percent of whom are graduate students and professionals. Hanbury said Nova will remain mainly a teaching university, but with so many graduate students it makes sense to get them involved in research.

— Jim Flannery

Related

1_LIMESTONE

Limestone Secures Financing for Expansion

The company said the $6 million in credit will be used to improve its Tennessee manufacturing facility and buy new equipment.

1_MCKENZIE

Mastry Marine Names Repower Center

St. Augustine, Fla.-based McKenzie Marine is the engine distributor’s latest designated Suzuki Repower Center.

1_VANDERBILT

Vanderbilt Ships First Pontoon

The company said the 700T Series was the first model shipped from its new Fort Wayne, Ind., factory and was delivered to The Marina in Angola, Ind.

1_CHIPS.ACT

NMMA Celebrates CHIPS Act

The legislation aims to return semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S. and allows businesses to deduct R&D costs in the same year they are incurred.

1_COX

Cox Marine Hires Sales and Support Staff

The diesel outboard builder this week brought aboard a new regional sales director, regional sales manager and an aftersales manager.

1_DEALEROUTLOOK

Boating Interests Lose Wind Farm Battle

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed wind farm off the Cleveland, Oh., waterfront meets planning requirements.

1_INFLATION.JULY

July Inflation Data Lags June

Consumer Price Index results may indicate that inflation has peaked, and Producer Price Index data was below market expectations.

1_YAMAHA

Yamaha Posts Higher Sales, Profit

The company’s first half 2022 net sales increased to $1.93 billion, and segment income rose to $330 million.