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Area leaders met with Mote Marine Laboratory’s scientists and staff to learn more about programs and progress — notably a new coral nursery expansion in Islamorada — during a gathering at Cheeca Lodge on May 14. Along with Mote’s science-based reef efforts in the Keys, the event also highlighted ocean acidification research, coral reef restoration and education programs. Michael Crosby, Mote president and CEO, said there’s vital research ongoing in the Keys by Mote’s brightest scientists and educators. In Islamorada, Mote is building a land-based coral nursery, the first of its kind in Islamorada, on the beach at Bud N’ Mary’s Marina. The new coral nursery will supplement Mote’s in-water Looe Key and land-based Summerland Key nurseries. The goal is to bring the coral reefs back to healthy coral coverage through targeted restoration efforts. “It’s going to be incredibly impactful, and that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Richard Stancyzk (owner and operator at Bud N’ Marys),” Crosby said. “That’s going to be able to help us target the coral reefs up here, not just in the Lower Keys.”

Frank Derfler, Keys History & Discovery Center board of directors, talks to Abigail Clark, post-doctoral researcher with Mote’s coral and health disease team.
Mote Marine Laboratory’s board chairman Howard Seider Jr. addresses the crowd.
From left, Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron; County Commissioner for District 5 Mike Forster; state Rep. Jim Mooney; former state Rep. Holly Raschein; state Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez; Kate DeLoach, partner with Southern Strategy Group and Keys History & Discovery Center board of directors; and Dave Shepp, lobbyist with Southern Strategy Group, attend a gathering with Mote officials.
Michael Crosby, Mote president and CEO, gives opening remarks during a gathering with area leaders and Mote’s scientists and staff workers at Cheeca Lodge. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

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