Industry News

Great Lakes Underwrites Florida Aquarium Coral Scientists

It just got a little bit easier for The Florida Aquarium to keep making coral history. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation ("Great Lakes") (NASDAQ: GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the United States announced their investment in The Florida Aquarium’s coral conservation and restoration work. The Aquarium’s world-renown coral scientists will benefit from a two-year gift underwritten by Great Lakes.

“Conservation efforts rely on research, development and resources to be successful,” Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium remarked. “The level and speed of R&D needed now to save the Florida Reef Tract is unprecedented. We are grateful that Great Lakes believes in the important work we are doing and making an investment in our research. Their support means we can do more to do our part in trying to save corals from extinction.”

Since 2014, The Florida Aquarium has positioned their research and resources to protect and restore Florida’s threatened coral population. Five years into the program, the Aquarium’s coral experts led the largest outplanting of genetically diverse Caribbean staghorn coral in Florida’s history. Then in August of 2019, The Florida Aquarium’s coral scientists became the first to reproduce endangered Atlantic pillar coral through lab-induced spawning. These historic events could ultimately help save corals in the Florida Reef Tract, and around the globe, from extinction.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company has been a leader in the building and maintenance of the nation’s navigation system, the protection of shorelines, the restoration of sensitive habitats, and the creation of critical aquatic infrastructure. In Hillsborough County, GLDD successfully completed the Port Tampa Bay deepening and widening project of Big Bend Channel, allowing larger ships into port.

Lasse Petterson, Chief Executive Officer for Great Lakes, commented, “Last year we finished our work with Port Tampa Bay which created a bird habitat where at least 11 different species of shorebirds are now nesting. Our business is focused on ensuring that our nation’s shorelines are protected and potential risks associated with storms and sea change are mitigated. Our people seek and develop technical innovations so that our work can be completed efficiently and responsibly. GLDD regards the protection of the environment as a core value, and we conduct all work activities so that adverse effects on the environment are avoided or minimized.”

The Florida Aquarium employs several coral scientists who focus on land-based coral brood-stock holding (parent corals that are used for making more corals), spawning (both lab-induced and in the greenhouses), and for grow-out (rearing) the cultured corals until they are ready to be replanted in the ocean for restoration purposes. This two-year, six-figure gift will provide funding for the coral scientists and associated operating expenses.

Story by Florida Aquarium

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