To expand our positive impacts on coral reefs in the Upper Florida Keys, Mote Marine Laboratory created the first and only coral nursery in Islamorada. The Islamorada Coral Nursery, situated on the property of the famed Bud n’ Mary’s Marina on Upper Matecumbe Key, is a satellite campus of Mote's primary Florida Keys location: the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration on Summerland Key.
Our Islamorada Nursery can host up to 20,000 coral fragments, facilitating first-in-class, resilience-focused restoration efforts on iconic Islamorada area reefs such as Alligator, Cheeca Rocks and Hens & Chickens. By expanding operations in Islamorada, Mote continues to directly respond to the urgent plight Florida’s Coral Reef is facing.
Mote's restoration efforts are uniquely comprehensive, incorporating both land-based and underwater nurseries and innovative research to understand and address multiple threats to corals' survival. Land-based nurseries help us optimize the growth of key native coral species, such as elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), which grows faster after fragmentation in land-based than underwater nurseries. Meanwhile, underwater nurseries allow us to optimize the growth of other species essential for coral restoration.