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Benjamin Ballard


Coral Health & Disease Research Program

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans


A native of Bardstown, Kentucky, Ben officially moved to Florida in 2017. Thanks to his loving grandparents, Ben has been enjoying visiting and learning at Mote since he was 7 years old. He earned a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics at the University of Louisville in 2014. After several years of helping students learn the ins and outs of physics and astronomy as a tutor, he decided to pursue the call to study and help restore the coral reef ecosystem. He began as an aquarium guide, and then became a husbandry volunteer for the aquarium and for the Marine Mammal Center. He then began an internship for the Coral Health and Disease program at City Island, and later transitioned to the Mote International Gene Bank. After the emergency evacuation of coral from the Florida Keys due to extreme water temperatures, Ben was hired as a coral biologist to help oversee and care for the coral currently under supervision and treatment at the Mote Aquaculture Research Park.


BS Astrophysics, University of Louisville