PortMiami, UM coral reef research and restoration program thriving

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PortMiami and scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science coral reef research and restoration program are off to a great start with the reproductive success of grooved brain corals in less than two months after their collection.

In March, approximately 150 corals were donated by PortMiami to the UM Rosenstiel School for its coral reef research and restoration program. In May, numerous colonies of the grooved brain coral (DIploria labyrinthiformis), spawned in UM’s laboratories. The grooved brain corals collected provide a unique genetic repository of colonies that survived the recent impacts of the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.

“The University of Miami Rosenstiel School’s coral reef scientists do incredible work to preserve and protect our precious corals,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “We are proud that the corals collected at PortMiami are thriving in such a short amount of time, and proud of this great partnership to support a healthy coral reef ecosystem — a critical part of a healthy bay.”

“We are delighted to report that just before sunset on May 7, 8 and 9, several of these colonies spawned in our labs,” said Liv Williamson, a PhD candidate at the UM Rosenstiel School. “We collected eggs and sperm from five parent colonies in total, and we are now rearing the resulting larvae. After a grow-out period, the coral babies will be planted onto reefs off Miami as part of our restoration activities.”

The corals grown by the UM Rosenstiel School coral reef research and restoration programs will be transplanted onto a reef in the Key Biscayne area in about six months.

Other coral reef research and restoration partners include the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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