Coral Gene Bank Internship

Mote’s International Coral Gene Bank is designed to be a safe haven for corals from Florida’s coral reef and Caribbean reefs, with eventual expansion into the Indo-Pacific regions of the world.  The ultimate goal is to hold interesting genotypes of multiple species in triplicate; one copy of each genotype into three separate systems for complete redundancy.

Currently at the Gene Bank there are four separate, ~1500 gallon (5700 L) recirculating holding systems, each consisting of four raceways and a sump.  Each system is monitored via a Neptune Apex controller, with probes to monitor temperature, pH, conductivity (salinity), and oxidation-reduction potential (ORP).  These parameters can be viewed in real time, remotely, and are setup to send alarms in case the probes detect any of these parameters wandering outside of predetermined limits.  At full capacity, these systems are capable of holding up to 128 adult corals (~30cm x 30cm) or ~4000-7500 fragments.

The Gene Bank is also home to four dedicated ex-situ spawning systems.  Specially designed to encourage coral gonad maturation, gametogenesis and synchronous spawning, the spawning systems are fine-tuned for replicating environmental/seasonal cues.  Using this technology enables the Gene Bank to increase genetic diversity of the corals found to be interesting for restoration through our research.

As an intern at the Gene Bank, skills in routine aquarium husbandry/aquaculture will be emphasized and expanded; cleaning filter socks, emptying protein skimmers, water quality sampling and recording are among the normal, daily tasks for an intern.  Other tasks include feeding corals, siphoning raceways, assisting with fragmenting corals, and measuring/photographing corals for growth metrics.  Summer internships can include assisting with coral spawning.

Hours are Monday-Friday with occasional weekends. Please note the majority of research activities are carried out at the Mote Aquaculture Park (MAP); a satellite site located in eastern Sarasota County, Florida, approximately 17 miles from the main laboratory. Interns must have their own transportation to/from this location since Sarasota’s public transportation system does not extend to the Park.