Current Projects

  • C-OCEAN (former Marine Ecosystem Event Response and Assessment): The C-OCEAN Project facilitates the transfer of information on environmental or biological events throughout the Florida Keys through a network of community “Marine Observers,” and by active monitoring of existing remote sensing and other in situ data products from throughout the southwest Florida region. Significant or related reports that indicate the potential developments of marine events are then further investigated utilizing a cooperative effort between volunteers, agency personnel and researchers and Mote Marine Laboratory staff. All information gathered is provided to relevant experts and resource managers, and is made available to the public on the internet via Mote’s webpage.
  • Florida Keys BleachWatch: The Florida Keys BleachWatch program is designed to train and coordinate volunteers who regularly report on the occurrence, or absence, of coral bleaching, as well as basic environmental conditions from various reef sites throughout the Florida Keys. This rapidly reported observational data is then synthesized with existing NOAA remote sensing and environmental monitoring data to provide the scientists and resource managers with a summary of actual “current conditions” on the reef throughout the summer months. This information will allow researchers to further develop the accuracy of available coral bleaching predictions and assist resource managers to better communicate the condition of the reefs as potential bleaching events occur, as well as integrating the information into existing management plans.
  • Florida Keys Red Tide Monitoring: Provides early notification of bloom initiation in the Florida Keys region and monitors physical environmental conditions both when K. brevis is present and when blooms are absent. Monitoring includes monthly survey cruises, as well as opportunistic sampling by a volunteer network of commercial fishermen, backcountry guides, researchers and state and federal agency personnel. During bloom events, response efforts aim to conduct more intensive sampling within and near blooms in order to evaluate water quality differences associated with high cell counts (specifically dissolved oxygen) and possible secondary effects on coral reef communities.
  • In-Situ Staghorn Coral Propagation and Restoration: The goal of this project is to reverse the population decline of staghorn coral in Florida and the Caribbean by enhancing natural populations through in-situ nursery based propagation and transplantation of nursery grown coral colonies to depleted reef sites. By increasing population numbers using genetically diverse transplanted fragments, the likelihood of successful cross-fertilization between these corals is increased, providing the potential to reverse the population decline of Acropora cervicornis on reefs throughout Florida. Furthermore, the availability of nursery grown staghorn coral to support research will be of critical importance as scientists aim to better understand stressors impacting existing populations of staghorn coral such as disease, predation and bleaching, as well as to provide insight into emerging threats such as global climate change and ocean acidification which will need to be overcome in order to effectively restore this threatened coral species.
  • Visitor Support/Marine Operations: Staff from Mote's Coral Reef Science and Monitoring Program provide support for and collaborate with numerous students and investigators that utilize The Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration for conducting marine research each year. Studies include work on coral genetics, coral disease, microbiology, ocean chemistry, fisheries, restoration and ocean acidfication.

Other Mote Research Programs View All