Building Young Eco Warriors

Check out a great article about our In School Partnership with Limestone Creek Elementary! We are so excited for the new school year and the focus on Florida’s hydrological ecosystems.

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Each child in Limestone Creek is able to visit with the marine educators in the Think Tank once a week, with The Reef Institute on site everyday. Students even get to interact and learn from a marine veterinarian. They have also been able to hold urchins to learn about their anatomy, build a coral polyp out of clay, and observe the unique world in a small coral reef.


Aquaponics Family Fun Day

Time & Location

Jul 27, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

The Reef Institute, 520 24th St, West Palm Beach, FL 33407, USA

The Reef Institute will be hosting a family aquaponics workshop day on July 27th from 10 am – 2 pm. Our Stewardship Center located at 520 24th Street, West Palm Beach is a great launching place to jump into ocean stewardship! 

To introduce our new outdoor aquaponics garden, we will have two aquaponics workshops available utilizing recycled materials and creating a small module. Stop by and get some tips on easy sustainable best practices. Dr. Charlie Gregory will also be available for Aquarist Club members to answer questions.

Workshop Cost: $10, which includes aquaponics materials costs

Snacks and Drinks will be for sale

A unique approach to marine education

As we wrap up the school year here at The Reef Institute it is an amazing time of reflection of all that has been accomplished.

This was a year of educational expansion at The Reef Institute. Almost 4,000 students were reached on a monthly basis in a variety of forms within our educational programming.

Through 4 school partnerships we saw every student in these schools bi-monthly for marine science education. Additionally, we worked with private and public schools to teach in the classroom at least once a month in grade specific and hands on learning. Students learned about coral as an animal, invasive species, and invertebrates just to name a few of the multiple topics covered.

The Reef Institute takes a unique approach to marine education in helping those we teach move from merely becoming aware of issues in the ocean to genuinely becoming great stewards of the marine environment at large.

The favorite lesson of the year as voted on by students was our fish gill lesson. Using a paper cup, students designed a fish by deciding where it would live, how it would move and what it would eat. Then they conducted a simple experiment using a coffee filter to learn how oxygen is removed from the water, to show how fish can breathe using their gills.

Students chose this as the lesson that connected with them the most clearly. While most understand that fish use gills, few understood how these feathery organs actually worked. It is fun to see students learn something totally new, but equally to see students who “think” they might know about a topic actually grasp a complicated concept.

Success Story – Florida Reef Tract Coral Monitoring and Seedbanking

Research at The Reef Institute is progressing and evolving quickly as we advance a pilot study exploring survival of coral frag replicates.

This has demonstrated that most Titanium and Zinc based sunscreens are safe for corals at higher concentrations than what is naturally ambient in the ocean. We will be following up and reporting more on this in the fall.


In other news, our first batch of rescue corals from Port Everglades are under seasonally shifting artificial lighting and our hope is to stimulate them to spawn in late August.

These lineages of coral are genetically valuable because they have shown to be disease and bleaching resistant in their natural environment, where they had survived for years under the suboptimal water quality conditions of Fort Lauderdale's busy port.

Recently, we have hooked up Neptune Apex Monitoring Systems to all of our coral systems and now have live internet monitoring and emergency automation capabilities. This new system can alarm us if parameters are out of normal ranges and take emergency action to correct it, such as shutting off valves or dosing buffer automatically.


Our coral monitoring project at Peanut island has identified lineages of coral beyond the previously established ranges and our hope is to setup an apex system connected to solar panels and a cell phone in the fall to live monitor conditions there and correlate them to any morbidity or mortality we might see in these corals. We will be watching to see if we can find patterns relating to new coral recruitment and northward range extensions.

Finally, we are kicking off our aquarist members lecture series with a presentation regarding the current coral disease outbreak. It will explore the status of coral reefs in Florida and outline which groups and what steps are being taken to address this devastating disease.

For ongoing research we are looking for anyone who can supply chillers or ecotech xr15 pro light. We are also making arrangements to directly import Australian coral and are open to any aquarists willing to donate towards that can have fragments of acro, acans, etc.