NSU Receives $15 M in Stimulus for Coral Reef Research

Nova Southeastern University received $15 million in federal stimulus money to build America's largest coral reef research center.

The 86,000-square-foot Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Science Research Facility will house local, national and international coral reef research. The facility will be located at NSU's Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach, Fla.

At a price-tag of roughly $30 million, the center is expected to create 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs; employ 50 graduate students; and preserve 22 existing academic jobs.

"I am thrilled that Nova Southeastern University has this opportunity to continue its leadership role in Florida's science and research economy. This type of research infrastructure is urgently needed to support economic growth and environmental sustainability in our region. It builds on NSU's multi-disciplinary research mission and will provide an anchor for the creation of hundreds of new jobs in addition to the direct academic, research and construction jobs it will provide." said Ray Ferrero, Jr., Chancellor of NSU.

The award was one of 12 announced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a result of a nationwide competition made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The NSU grant was one of two to receive the largest amount awarded at $15 million. Other grantees included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Center, Columbia University, and other national research institutions. The new center will be the only research facility in the nation dedicated to coral reef ecosystem research.

Richard Dodge, Ph.D. dean of NSU's Oceanographic Center and Director of the National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI) said this represents recognition of the tremendous value of coral reefs to the nations and also the considerable threats and stressors that are now impinging upon them. The new Center of Excellence in Coral Reef ecosystem science aims to find management and conservation solutions to these pressing issues. The location is ideal as a NOAA study recognizes that 84 percent of the nation's reefs are located in Florida.

Operated by the National Coral Reef Institute at NSU, the center will help protect coral reef ecosystems, which contribute over $6 billion and 71,000 jobs annually to South Florida alone. The center will protect and expand jobs in Florida that depend on healthy reef systems.

NSU is planning to contribute 50 percent of the center's construction cost. The university received $15 million from the federal stimulus package to fund the other portion. The Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Science Research Facility, a multi-disciplinary center will address national and international priorities in coral reef research in five areas: 1) Impacts of global and local stressors; 2) Geospatial analysis and mapping; 3) Deep sea coral reefs and biodiversity; 4) Genetic and genomic connectivity; and 5) Hydrodynamics.

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