This week, the University of Miami aquarium club had the privilege of, for our first big event and second meeting of the semester, hosting Colin Foord, the owner of local aquaculture facility, Coral Morphologic. Colin is a UM alumni, and in many ways, the grandfather of Aquarium Club at the University. Currently, he is involved in a number of different projects, the foremost of which being the rescuing of the corals from Government Cut, but more on that later. Colin's company, Coral Morphologic, is a scientific art endeavor using living coral and aquarium aquaculture as the primary medium. They do some absolutely awesome work with coral and its fluorescent properties. Enough on that however, lets learn more about Government Cut, and what Colin is doing there.
This is Government Cut, a shipping channel that was dredged out for the last time about 60 years ago. Since then it has been virtually untouched, and the tides bring large amounts of clean water in through there every day, flushing the life that lives there. Which in our case, or our interest per say, is the coral. However, due to the widening of the Panama Canal and its new ability to accommodate larger ships, Miami wants to be able to accommodate said ships as well. So the solution, is the re-dredging of the Cut and in doing so, they will kill just about everything there, and all of this life will be lost. Colin showed a number of videos showcasing what is living in Government Cut. Due to the large amounts of water flushing, the diversity here is unbelievable. There are corals here that aren't even found out on the reef systems around the same area.
Why are these corals so important however? Well Colin explained, in addition to the large diversity of corals here, they are so interesting because they are not just hangers on from a once great reef, but because they are pioneering an urban environment and thriving, so called "Corals of Opportunity".So here is where Colin comes in, his mission, his goal is to save these corals. He wants to save them and transplant them to an area where they can be studied for their ability to thrive in this urban environment and can have their biodiversity preserved. He spoke to why these corals are so important, because they are highly adaptable, ideal for research and readily available for the people who want to use them. He reached out to the University and wants us to get involved in helping with these corals, because their scientific potential is huge. So all in all, this talk was extremely informative and hopefully, going to help students get involved with working with these Corals of Opportunity.
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