From The University of Miami (FL) (US) : “Scientists publish first large-scale census of coral heat tolerance” 

From The University of Miami (FL) (US)

10-20-2021
Diana Udel

Findings provide immediate actions to benefit the world’s largest coral restoration program.

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Liv Williamson, Ph.D. candidate cleans staghorn coral fragments in underwater nursery. Photo: Hayley Jo-Carr.

In a first-of-its-kind study, Florida’s critically endangered staghorn corals were surveyed to discover which ones can better withstand future heatwaves in the ocean. Insights from the study, led by scientists at Shedd Aquarium and The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science – University of Miami (US), help organizations working to restore climate-resilient reefs in Florida and provide a blueprint for the success of restoration projects globally.

“While this study was performed in Florida, there is growing interest among scientists and managers in surveying heat tolerance in other coral populations around the world,” said Andrew Baker, professor in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the UM Rosenstiel School, and a co-author of the study. “Our study provides a template for other efforts to identify heat-tolerant corals and comes at a time when this knowledge can help transform approaches to stem the decline of corals due to climate change. Population censuses of heat tolerance are not only useful for scientists seeking to understand how and why corals vary in their thermal tolerance, but also to managers and policy makers guiding the future of reef restoration.”

The new study, published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, can help optimize the human interventions necessary to help corals survive the impacts of climate change.

The study was conducted over two research expeditions that took place in 2020, where Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II, enabled a team to test the heat tolerance of 229 different strains of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) that are being actively propagated by South Florida’s coral restoration programs, ranging from Broward County to the lower Florida Keys, and operated by Nova Southeastern University (US), Mote’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration (US), The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (US), Reef Renewal, The Coral Restoration Foundation (US), and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School.

See the full article here.

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The University of Miami (US) is a private research university in Coral Gables, Florida. As of 2020, the university enrolled approximately 18,000 students in 12 separate colleges and schools, including the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami’s Health District, a law school on the main campus, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science focused on the study of oceanography and atmospheric sciences on Virginia Key, with research facilities at the Richmond Facility in southern Miami-Dade County.

The university offers 132 undergraduate, 148 master’s, and 67 doctoral degree programs, of which 63 are research/scholarship and 4 are professional areas of study. Over the years, the university’s students have represented all 50 states and close to 150 foreign countries. With more than 16,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff, UM is a top 10 employer in Miami-Dade County. The University of Miami’s main campus in Coral Gables has 239 acres and over 5.7 million square feet of buildings.

The University of Miami is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The University of Miami research expenditure in FY 2019 was $358.9 million. The University of Miami offers a large library system with over 3.9 million volumes and exceptional holdings in Cuban heritage and music.

The University of Miami also offers a wide range of student activities, including fraternities and sororities, and hundreds of student organizations. The Miami Hurricane, the student newspaper, and WVUM, the student-run radio station, have won multiple collegiate awards. The University of Miami’s intercollegiate athletic teams, collectively known as the Miami Hurricanes, compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The University of Miami’s football team has won five national championships since 1983 and its baseball team has won four national championships since 1982.

Research

UM is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. In fiscal year 2016, The University of Miami received $195 million in federal research funding, including $131.3 million from the Department of Health and Human Services (US) and $14.1 million from the National Science Foundation (US). Of the $8.2 billion appropriated by Congress in 2009 as a part of the stimulus bill for research priorities of the National Institutes of Health, the Miller School received $40.5 million. In addition to research conducted in the individual academic schools and departments, Miami has the following university-wide research centers:

The Center for Computational Science
The Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS)
Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
The Miami European Union Center: This group is a consortium with Florida International University (FIU) established in fall 2001 with a grant from the European Commission through its delegation in Washington, D.C., intended to research economic, social, and political issues of interest to the European Union.
The Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies
John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics – studies possible causes of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.
Center on Research and Education for Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE)
Wallace H. Coulter Center for Translational Research

The Miller School of Medicine receives more than $200 million per year in external grants and contracts to fund 1,500 ongoing projects. The medical campus includes more than 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m^2) of research space and the The University of Miami Life Science Park, which has an additional 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m^2) of space adjacent to the medical campus.The University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute seeks to understand the biology of stem cells and translate basic research into new regenerative therapies.

As of 2008, the Rosenstiel School receives $50 million in annual external research funding. Their laboratories include a salt-water wave tank, a five-tank Conditioning and Spawning System, multi-tank Aplysia Culture Laboratory, Controlled Corals Climate Tanks, and DNA analysis equipment. The campus also houses an invertebrate museum with 400,000 specimens and operates the Bimini Biological Field Station, an array of oceanographic high-frequency radar along the US east coast, and the Bermuda aerosol observatory. The University of Miami also owns the Little Salt Spring, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, in North Port, Florida, where RSMAS performs archaeological and paleontological research.

The University of Miami built a brain imaging annex to the James M. Cox Jr. Science Center within the College of Arts and Sciences. The building includes a human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) laboratory, where scientists, clinicians, and engineers can study fundamental aspects of brain function. Construction of the lab was funded in part by a $14.8 million in stimulus money grant from the National Institutes of Health (US).

In 2016 the university received $161 million in science and engineering funding from the U.S. federal government, the largest Hispanic-serving recipient and 56th overall. $117 million of the funding was through the Department of Health and Human Services and was used largely for the medical campus.

The University of Miami maintains one of the largest centralized academic cyber infrastructures in the country with numerous assets. The Center for Computational Science High Performance Computing group has been in continuous operation since 2007. Over that time the core has grown from a zero HPC cyberinfrastructure to a regional high-performance computing environment that currently supports more than 1,200 users, 220 TFlops of computational power, and more than 3 Petabytes of disk storage.