SARASOTA -- After a break from extreme summer heat, scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory are beginning to move thousands of corals back to underwater nurseries in the Keys.
Mote moved the corals out of nurseries in Florida Bay this past summer to save them from record hot waters, with temperatures over 100 degrees before seasonal storms kicked in. Oxygen was also lower than normal and salinity was above normal.
When water stays over 87 degrees for too long, it stresses coral and can cause it to expel algae that give coral its color and provide it with nutrients.
Mote used 70 staff members, six research vessels, and community volunteers to transport thousands of stressed and dying corals from nurseries to its aquaculture center in the Sarasota area
Since October, Mote has been reintroducing the corals to the seabed. Those corals are observed for 30 days before being cleared for restoration procedures.
Dr Jason Spadaro, program manager, says some corals have resisted bleaching, which could pass heat resilience on to future generations.
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Photo: Mote Marine Lab