2006 Progress Report: National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE) - Administrative

EPA Grant Number: R828020
Center: National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
Center Director: McManus, John W.
Title: National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE) - Administrative
Investigators: McManus, John W.
Institution: University of Miami
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: December 15, 1999 through December 14, 2003
Project Period Covered by this Report: December 15, 2005 through December 14, 2006
Project Amount: $4,870,500
RFA: National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Congressionally Mandated Center , Targeted Research


The National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE) was founded in late 1999 to facilitate interdisciplinary coral reef research in support of management decision-making. The Center was originally funded via annual Congressional allocations administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This grant was provided to initiate Center activities. Subsequently, NCORE has become an umbrella organization covering all coral reef research of the University of Miami. With over 50 researchers, it is the largest organization of coral reef researchers at any U.S. university.

Under EPA/Congressional Support, a large number of projects were funded under three Programs: Integrated Keys Research, Comparative Analysis of Reef Resilience Under Stress (CARRUS), and Reef Connectivity (ReConnect). The program supported eight PhD students, five of whom have now completed their degrees, and three more are expected to finish within two years. By the end of 2007, the EPA/Congressional funding will have resulted in more than 60 formal publications, constituting a substantial contribution to coral reef science and science-based management.

Progress Summary:

The following are just some of the highlights of the program:

  • Nutrient studies in the Upper and Middle Florida Keys have demonstrated that oceanic inputs of nutrients may be more significant than terrestrial inputs.
  • Studies of key herbivorous fishes have revealed considerable new information about their population and predator-prey dynamics and rates of feeding, and thus their impacts on the macro-algae populations which frequently cause losses of ecological resilience by restricting the settlement of coral planulae.
  • A fine-scale version of the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) model for South Florida has led to new insights into ocean currents in the area, including processes of nutrient and larval flux into the Florida Reef Tract from offshore and from runoff associated with hurricanes impacting the Gulf States.
  • Data Navigator South Florida was deployed online, providing decision-tree guided user-friendly public access to hundreds of data sets of concern to the management of marine ecosystems in South Florida.
  • A novel coral disease modeling system which accounts for the dispersion, density, and susceptibility characteristics of individual coral colonies was developed and field validated.
  • A highly innovative three-dimensional model of reef algal interactions was constructed and field validated, providing key insights into the factors regulating macro-algal overgrowth of coral reefs. Studies of coral reproduction and recruitment have added key knowledge to the study of coral reef ecology, including the discovery of a local population of protozoans that can swarm together to destroy a newly-settled coral planulae within a few hours.
  • Studies of the genetic variability of Elkhorn Coral across the Caribbean have provided a basis for the implementation of protective legislation for this threatened species, as well as for efforts to reestablish populations via mass propagation.
  • Comparative studies of reefs across the region using the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) approach have added substantially to the capacity to quantify reef health and integrity, as well as to improve our understanding of coral reef connectivity via knowledge of reef distributions and status.

Journal Articles: 2 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 9 publications 2 publications in selected types All 2 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Szmant AM. Introduction to the special issue of Coral Reefs on "Coral Reef Algal Community Dynamics"—Why are coral reefs world-wide becoming overgrown by algae? 'Algae, algae everywhere, and nowhere a bite to eat!' Coral Reefs 2001;19(4):299-302. R828020 (2006)
R828020C002 (2001)
  • Abstract: SpringerLink
  • Journal Article Szmant AM. Nutrient enrichment on coral reefs: is it a major cause of coral reef decline? Estuaries and Coasts 2002;25(4):743-766. R828020 (2006)
    R828020C002 (2001)
  • Abstract: Springer
  • Other: Springer
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, estuarine research, Ecology, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Water & Watershed, State, Aquatic Ecosystem, algal blooms, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Watersheds, marine ecosystem, wetlands, coastal ecosystem, bloom dynamics, coastal resources, coastal watershed, coral reefs, estuaries, estuarine integrity, Florida Keys, marine biology, coastal environments, esturarine eutrophication, aquatic ecosystems, coral reef ecosystem integrity, environmental indicators, environmental stress, water quality, coastal ecosystems, watershed sustainablility, coral reef communities, ecological indicators, Florida, watershed assessment, ecological research, watershed restoration, FLA

    Relevant Websites:

    http://ncore.rsmas.miami.edu/index.htm Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2000
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002
  • Final
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828020C002 Nutrient Cycling and Algal Productivity in the Florida Keys
    R828020C003 Top-Down Trophodynamics
    R828020C004 Physical Oceanographic Studies
    R828020C005 Impacts of Nutrients on Reefs in the Florida Keys