Coral reefs support more than 25 percent of ocean species, but they are declining around the world. Serious coral diseases, pollution and climate change can all stress corals. When water gets too warm, corals can bleach, or turn white, because they lose the important algae in their tissues. A bleached coral will eventually die if conditions don’t improve.
Some corals glow in bright colors before bleaching, a warning sign that inspired the worldwide competition “Glowing, Glowing, Gone." This 2019 competition, including partners from Adobe, Pantone, United Nations Environment Programme and others, challenges creatives, brands and influencers to raise awareness of declining coral reefs using specific Pantone colors.
Mote Marine Laboratory, an international leader in coral reef research and restoration, took this important challenge to heart.
Committed to coral reefs
Mote Marine Laboratory scientists lead intensive research to understand the threats to corals and restore depleted coral reefs, with an emphasis on the Florida Reef Tract—the planet's third largest barrier reef system. The Florida Reef Tract faces an uprecedented threat: Stony coral tissue loss disease, which is causing significant mortality among corals from Martin County to Sand Key in the Lower Florida Keys—and possibly beyond.
It is highly unlikely that these devastated coral populations can recover on their own; that means conservation strategies alone cannot solve this dilemma. Mote is undertaking a bold, science-based, Coral Disease Response and Restoration Initiative to actively assist the ecosystem’s recovery, building on years of research.
Over the years, Mote scientists have raised and restored more than 55,000 corals to Florida Keys reefs. As a world-leader of science-based coral restoration, Mote emphasizes raising genetically diverse corals and promoting their best traits through controlled sexual reproduction. Today, Mote is leading research to better understand stony coral tissue loss disease, along with climate change impacts to corals, including warming water and ocean acidification. Mote is also spearheading creation of coral gene banks to preserve Florida's native coral species and genetic diversity.
In the following video, you can meet some of Mote's coral science and conservation champions: Dr. Emily Hall, Dr. Erinn Muller, and Evan Barniskis. If you're passionate about coral reef science and conservation, consider becoming a donor to Mote, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that leads today's research for tomorrow's oceans.