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Joint Research Program Supports Management in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
This story entered on 7th May, 2003 05:12:40 AM PST

A new partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (Region 4), NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP), and the Sanctuary Friends is supporting over $590,000 of coral reef ecosystems research in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The partnership is intended to help improve management of the FNKMS by identifying and understanding cause and effect relationships among pollutants, transport pathways, and the biological communities of the Sanctuary. Improved understanding of how the FKNMS responds to stresses will help managers select the most appropriate plans for reducing those stresses and ultimately improving ecosystem condition and use.

By pooling resources and sharing administrative costs, the joint program was able to attract and fund eight quality proposals. NOAA's 50% match requirement (as set forth in the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000) was exceeded with a total program match of 63%, further leveraging NOAA funds and extending the impact of the program. Selected projects examine the impact of toxins on invertebrate reproduction, coral larvae settlement and distribution, lobster spillover from reserves, bioindicators for reef monitoring and risk assessment, origins and impacts of sea fan disease, the impact of protected zones on coral population structure and dynamics, and human fecal indicator bacteria and pathogenic viruses.

NURP's Involvement:

For FY2003, NURP will administer the Coral Reef Ecosystem Research section of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Grant Program. By working through NURP, both the National Ocean Service (NOS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) benefit from NURP's experience with competitive and high standards of scientific peer-review, program planning and field operation, and from the potential leveraging of NURP dollars towards projects of mutual interest. The Coral Reef Ecosystems Research grants are being administered through three separate NURP Centers based on geographical region: Southeast U.S. and Gulf of Mexico (Southeast U.S. and Gulf of Mexico NURP Center), U.S. Caribbean (Caribbean Marine Research Center), and Hawai'i and the Western Pacific (Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory).

Contact information
Name: Kimberly Puglise


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Updated: January 20, 2005