Hollywood, FL – When the Center for Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems opens on September 27, it will be the largest such facility in the United States. The $50 million facility is expected to give a huge boost to the South Florida coral reef industry, which sustains approximately 71,000 jobs. The project was made possible through stimulus and Nova Southeastern University funding.
The coral reef industry in the southern region of the Sunshine State typically generates around $6 billion annually, according to a NSU release. The 86,000-square-foot complex is located inside the Oceanographic Center at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, Reuters reports.
The project created a total of 22 new academic jobs and saved 22 existing jobs. Approximately 300 construction workers enjoyed at least a temporary paycheck while building the new facility. A total of 50 graduate students will also be learning and working at paid positions inside the new South Florida complex.
NSU President George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., has this to say about the complex:
“By opening this state-of-the-facility, NSU is taking a leadership role in Florida’s marine science research and helping boost an important multibillion-dollar industry that employs thousands of South Floridians and sustains many small businesses. The research center is critical for the environmental sustainability of coral reefs, which are the life blood of our region and oceans, and their ecosystems.”
Twelve other grant applicants also were awarded project funding, but the marine science complex garnered the largest award. The new environmental learning lab will be the only place in America dedicated solely to the study of the ecosystems. Students and staff will examine the impact of climate change on the underway formations, monitor growth rings, investigate water flow, and cultivate species in nurseries with the goal of re-introduction into the ocean.