Current and Past Ruth Gates Coral Restoration Innovation Grant Projects
The Ruth Gates Coral Restoration Innovation Grants support resilient coral ecosystems.
Since 2020, NOAA has provided more than $4 million to support Ruth Gates Coral Restoration Innovation Grant projects as part of NOAA’s efforts to restore resilient coral ecosystems. Below are descriptions of projects funded in Fiscal Years 2020 - 2023.
- Up to up to $614,970 has been recommended for the University of Alabama to work with Mote Marine Laboratory and the University of Delaware to collect algal fluorescence data using a low-cost, non-lethal optical tool. Algal fluorescence correlates to the bleaching response in elkhorn and staghorn coral, which are heavily used in reef restoration projects throughout the Florida Keys and the Caribbean. The data will be used to optimize a model for accurately predicting coral thermal tolerance.
Disclaimer: At this point in the selection process, the application approval and obligation of funds for this award is not final. This application is being “recommended” for funding. This is not authorization to start the project and this is not a guarantee of funding
- Nova Southeastern University was awarded $728,581 to work with Mote Marine Laboratory, The Florida Aquarium, and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington to help determine the optimal light to maximize the survival and growth of young corals before, during, and immediately after the uptake of their algal endosymbionts. This will enable them to rapidly and effectively upscale production of genetically-diverse corals for restoration.
- SECORE International, Inc. received $57,950 to test self-stabilizing coral outplanting substrates in the University of Miami’s SUSTAIN tank (SUrge-STructure-Atmosphere INteraction), a wind-wave simulator, to refine the substrate design to improve retention in a natural environment.
- The Florida International University was awarded up to $279,492 to investigate the feasibility to improve restoration and enhance coral resilience by attempting to make corals withstand increased temperatures.
- The University of Southern California, working with the Mote Marine Laboratory, was awarded up to $333,795 to quantify the thermal tolerance of nursery-reared elkhorn corals and identify genomic signatures associated with key thermal resilience traits
- The University of Hawaii was awarded up to $837,431 to address a knowledge gap in coral assisted evolution by assessing how selectively bred corals can increase adaptation in natural reproduction by improving the temperature tolerance of future coral populations.
- The University of Miami was awarded up to $452,774 to assess the feasibility of increasing the genetic diversity to restore elkhorn coral populations in Florida by cross breeding corals with Northwest Bahamas or other Caribbean sourced corals.
- Johnston Applied Marine Sciences was awarded up to $485,618 to test a new settlement substrate for coral larvae in order to scale up coral restoration efforts through the outplanting of sexually derived juvenile corals. The project will also build capacity in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to implement coral sexual propagation.
- The Pennsylvania State University was awarded up to $592,389 to analyze four coral species in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida to understand genetic and molecular mechanisms related to thermal tolerance and resilience.