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AOML’s Ian Enochs Awarded DOC Silver Medal Award

AOML coral ecologist, Ian Enochs, was recently awarded with the Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award for his leadership in developing and implementing the Sub-Surface Automated Sampler (SAS).  The DOC Silver Medal is awarded to federal employees for exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy contributions which have a direct and lasting impact.  

Ian is honored for his leadership, tenacity, and creativity in designing and developing the SAS along with CIMAS colleague Nathan Formel.  The cost-effective sampler, which can be built for $214, makes field work more efficient by enabling researchers to study coral reef carbonate chemistry at finer spatial and temporal scales.

We congratulate Ian for this achievement and for bringing to light the amazing NOAA and CIMAS innovators of AOML.

  • Ian Enochs, pictured with his wife and son, awarded with the DOC Silver Medal Award.
  • Subsurface Automated Sampler

Top: Ian Enochs awarded with the DOC Silver Medal Award. Image Credit: NOAA

Bottom: The Subsurface Automated Sampler, developed by Enochs and colleague Nathan Formel, makes field work more efficient by reducing time and cost involved. Image Credit: NOAA

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Coral Reefs will be Unable to Keep Pace with Sea-Level Rise

NOAA contributed to a study published today in the journal Nature that compares the upward growth rates of coral reefs with predicted rates of sea-level rise and found many reefs would be submerged in water so deep it will hamper their growth and survival. The study was done by an international team of scientists led by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. 

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Coral Bleaching Study Offers Clues about the Future of the Florida Keys Reef Ecosystem

A recent study by AOML and partners identified coral communities at Cheeca Rocks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that appear to be more resilient than other nearby reefs to coral bleaching after back to back record breaking hot summers in 2014 and 2015 and increasingly warmer waters. This local case study provides a small, tempered degree of optimism that some Caribbean coral communities may be able to acclimate to warming waters.

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Researchers Explore Coral Resiliency in New Experimental Reef Laboratory

Coral researchers at AOML unveiled a new state of the art experimental laboratory this spring at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel campus. The new “Experimental Reef Laboratory” will allow NOAA scientists and colleagues to study the molecular mechanisms of coral resiliency. Modeling studies indicate that thermal stress and ocean acidification will worsen in the coming decades. Scientists designed the Experimental Reef Laboratory to study the combined effect of these two threats, and determine if some corals are able to persist in a changing environment.

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Galapagos Islands: A Telling Study Site for Coral Reef Scientists

Coral scientists recently traveled to the Galapagos Islands to document coral reef health following the 2016-17 El Niño Southern Oscillation event (ENSO), which bathed the region in abnormally warm waters. Historically, these events have triggered coral bleaching and large-scale mortality, as seen in response to ENSO events of 1982-83 and 1997-98. Interestingly, these same reefs exhibited minimal bleaching in response to this most recent event. Scientists are determining whether this response is due to differing levels of heat stress, or an increased tolerance to warm water in the remnant coral communities.

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Study shows ocean acidification is two-front assault on coral reefs

The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, measured changes in the reef framework in several naturally high-carbon dioxide settings near Papua New Guinea. For the first time, scientists found increased activity of worms and other organisms that bore into the reef structure, resulting in a net loss of the framework that is the foundation of coral reef ecosystems.

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AOML Leads Research Efforts Across Caribbean to Improve Bleaching Predictions

For the third time in recorded history, a massive coral bleaching event is unfolding throughout the world’s oceans, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean. Above average sea surface temperatures exacerbated by a strong El Niño could result in the planet losing up to 4,500 square miles of coral this year alone, according to NOAA. The global event is predicted to continue to impact reefs into the spring of 2016.

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Volcanic Island of Maug Provides Natural Lab for Ocean Acidification

Maug is a unique natural laboratory that allows us to study how ocean acidification affects coral reef ecosystems. We know of no other area like this in U.S. waters. Increasing carbon dioxide in seawater is a global issue because it makes it harder for animals like corals to build skeletons.

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