Region’s oceanographic research hub shines October 23, 2015
Many South Floridians may not know that the Florida Reef, which runs just off our coast from the Keys to Martin County and is 170 miles long, is the only coral barrier reef in the continental U.S. It is the third-largest reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef. The reef, which provides food and shelter to various kinds of fish, is a critical part of the marine ecosystem, and it is vital to our tourism and recreational boating industry.
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida has reached out to and is partnering with Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Florida International University’s Marine Science Program. Collectively, they’re conducting ground-breaking research regarding this and other coral reefs, stem cell research, sustainability, genome sequencing, ocean acidification, meteorology and much more.
Our region’s global marine research hub already rivals Silicon Valley or North Carolina’s research triangle on marine research relevant to our climate and planet.
On a smaller scale, many yacht owners have committed substantial resources to oceanographic research. Many large yachts now have oceanographic centers on them, complete with their own private submarines.
Google founder Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy Schmidt, (both yacht owners) founded the Schmidt Ocean Foundation. And Microsoft Founder Paul Allen has taken a leadership position in this area by joining the Giving Pledge, his work discovering the Japanese Battleship Musashi and his recent discovery of the bell from the HMS Hood. He is involved in the International Seakeepers Society and has supported various scientific efforts including his foundation’s recent donation to shark research at Florida International University. He is also heavily involved in the boating community.
And scientists have filmed the first views of giant squid more than 40 feet long in the deep ocean using a bubble-topped Triton submersible, which is made in Vero Beach.