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Florida reef plate funds Keys projects

This is a fragment of reef-building coral outplanted by Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and partners last summer at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West.
This is a fragment of reef-building coral outplanted by Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and partners last summer at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West. Mote Marine Laboratory

Drivers who bought a Florida “Protect Our Reefs” specialty license plate helped make Mote Marine Laboratory’s new Summerland Key complex a reality, along with boosting numerous coral-research projects.

A portion of the $359,925 generated this year from the underwater-motif plate paid some costs at the International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration and backed the Florida Keys Bleachwatch program coordinated by Cory Walter.

Among other projects benefiting from reef license plate, with principal investigator:

▪ “Stress-hardening of reef corals and its application to coral-reef restoration,” Ross Cunning, University of Miami.

▪ “Effects of sedimentation stress in adult and early life stages of corals,” Xaymara Serrano, University of Miami.

▪ “Improving techniques for settlement and outplant of coral recruits to increase genetic diversity,” Christopher Page, Mote.

▪ “Role of reef features in affecting fish grazing on coral restoration efforts,” Daniel McCarthy, Jacksonville University.

▪ “Evaluating Acropora [branching corals] restoration sites five years after outplanting to identify characteristics of successful sites,” Kerry Maxwell, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

▪ “Coral Reef Youth Education Program,” Millard McCleary, Reef Relief.

▪ “Measuring impacts of Everglades restoration on post-larval swimming behaviors of Florida stone crab,” Philip Gravinese, Mote.

For more funded projects and information on the “Protect Our Reefs” program and license plate, go to www.motereefplate.com.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206

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