NOAA-Supported Coral Reef Institute Finds Home in New Facility
On September 27, Nova Southeastern University officially opens a new research facility, the 86,000-square-foot Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Science Research, which will host local, national, and international coral specialists. Located at the University’s Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach, Florida, it will be the largest research facility in the nation dedicated to coral reef ecosystems.
Coral reefs are indispensable to south Florida’s communities and economy, bringing in $6 billion in tourism annually, sustaining about 71,000 jobs. The reefs draw snorkelers, divers, anglers, and other tourists who also eat in local restaurants, sleep in nearby hotels, and shop for gifts in the area.
In January 2010, the university received $15 million in federal stimulus money to build the center. Its long-standing association with the National Coral Reef Institute, administered by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, was a major factor in the success of its bid for the grant.
“NSU’s new Center of Excellence fits perfectly within NOAA’s mission and provides both urgently needed physical facilities and expanded scientific capacity regionally, nationally and globally,” said Richard E. Dodge, Ph.D., dean of the university’s Oceanographic Center and executive director of the institute.
The Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) funds the institute to provide solid information and research products to help understand, manage, and conserve these jewels off Florida’s coast.