Coral Gables High School senior Laura Stieghorst has expanded a coral lab at the high school.
“Originally it was a couple of tanks upstairs,” Stieghorst said. “I actually moved them from the upstairs lab downstairs. Now we have a full room dedicated to the project.”
The expansion included a huge 300-gallon tank that is about 10 feet long.
The new tank and various filter systems were donated by Colin Foord of CoralMorrophologic.com. Stieghorst said the founders work to bring awareness to coral and coral restoration through art.
“They have done a lot of interesting research project,” she said. “He will come in and check in on the coral.”
The hope is to replant some of the coral they are growing in the ocean.
“What we have is a lot of foreign coral from the Pacific and Southeast Asia. They are easier to take care of and grow quicker,” she said.
Stieghorst also met with the Coral Restoration Foundation.
“They were telling us they would love to work with us and hope to give us native coral frags for the smaller tanks,” she said. “We are hoping to get it established and healthy enough to bring in biology students.”
She also is hoping to recruit some underclassmen to volunteer in the lab and train them to take over when she graduates.
Stieghorst is interested in marine biology or environmental science as a career. She was accepted into MAST Academy but transportation didn’t work out for her.
“So I brought marine biology to Coral Gables,” she said.
Stieghorst is applying to universities exclusively in Florida and California. She’s interested in attending the University of Miami because of the Rosenstiel School of Marine Biology. She also is considering UF, USF, and FIU. Out of state, my first choice would be Occidental College, Scripps College, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld