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Areas of Research

Coral Reef Ecosystems

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans

In crystalline waters, colorful mounds and thickets of living coral support an underwater rainforest of vibrant fishes, crabs, lobsters, sea turtles, and untapped resources such as new sources of medicine. On many of Earth’s coral reefs, that’s how it used to be. Climate change, disease, pollution and other challenges have brought many coral populations to the brink of functional extinction.

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists are dedicated to restoring our paradise lost. We have planted hundreds of thousands of corals onto Florida’s Coral Reef, tested new treatments for worldwide coral diseases, and above all, pioneered efforts to grow, breed, stress-test and preserve thousands of native genetic varieties of corals to ensure that restored reefs carry resilience in their very DNA.

By the Numbers

of corals

given a new treatment for black band disease showed NO active disease after one week—results of a study by Mote and Ocean Alchemists, LLC. In this study, 100 corals were treated or served as controls.

Caribbean king crabs

Number of juveniles produced as of late 2023 by Mote's new Florida Coral Reef Restoration Crab Hatchery Research Center dedicated to producing native crabs to help control algae on restored reefs.


2023's hot summer water temperatures led Mote to evacuate thousands of stressed corals from its underwater nurseries. Mote scientists have returned recovering corals to the water and worked hard to learn from this extreme event to restore resilient reefs.

Corals restored

From 2008–2023 by Mote scientists on Florida's Coral Reef. Monitoring restored corals helps reveal which genetic varieties are resilient to environmental challenges.

New corals

Added to Mote's International Coral Gene Bank in 2023. The Gene Bank preserves corals to protect populations at risk of extinction.

Million awarded

to Mote by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2023 for a four-year, transformative coral restoration initiative at 10 key sites on Florida's Coral Reef.


Get the Protect Our Reefs License Plate

Small, round coral colonies with brownish polyps grow in Mote's International Coral Gene Bank.
Mote Research

Centers of Excellence

Each Center of Excellence brings together Mote scientists, often with external partners, to focus on pressing topics in marine science, conservation and education.