The University of Miami’s (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science announced yesterday a two-year award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support coral conservation research.
The grant will support coral propagation and restoration efforts necessary to help with the recovery of threatened coral species and increased resilience of coastal communities in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
This project is a collaboration between UM coral biologists Diego Lirman and Andrew Baker, NOAA’s Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Program, Miami Science Barge, and the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
“Healthy reefs shape coastlines and provide the first line of defense against weather hazards such as hurricanes. Coral reefs can reduce wave energy by up to 97 percent, thereby protecting low-lying coastlines from erosion and flooding, and by trapping sediments and limiting the need for costly beach renourishment projects,” the University of Miami said in its release.
During the project, the researchers will outplant nursery-raised staghorn corals onto nearshore reef habitats within Miami-Dade County, identify resilient coral genotypes able to survive the impacts of extreme temperature changes and develop an outreach and education program to engage the public and coral reef conservation and restoration.