Dr. David Vaughan, Executive Director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s research facility in the Florida Keys, was recently highlighted in AARP’s #DisruptAging campaign, which focuses on replacing negative and inaccurate stereotypes that exist about aging with a realistic and positive representation of what aging has come to mean.
Mote scientists, including Vaughan, age 63, are leading efforts to understand why coral reefs are declining and how to bring them back in this lifetime. Mote raises thousands of fragments of staghorn coral, a threatened species, and plants them into the wild in cooperation with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Mote scientists are studying these coral fragments to find strains most likely to survive changing ocean conditions.
Mote scientists have also developed a breakthrough technique for quickly growing and restoring brain, boulder and star corals — crucial reef-building species. Mote’s technique allows for restoring large areas of reef-building corals in just one or two years instead of the hundreds of years that some slow-growing corals might need on their own.
Not only does Vaughan oversee the day-to-day operations at Mote's Summerland Key facility and manage the Coral Reef Restoration Program at Mote, but he also has pledged not to retire until he replants one million corals back onto the reef.
In keeping with Vaughan's goal, Mote recently began a new collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to restore corals at unprecedented scales throughout the Caribbean and Florida Keys.
Also, Mote launched an online fundraising project to raise awareness of the vital importance of restoring coral reefs. Donations to Mote’s project “Restoring Coral Reefs in this Lifetime,” will help the Lab restore one acre of coral reef for $10,000, which is just $10 per coral.
- If you'd like to help, you can donate here.