Displaying items by tag: Florida Aquarium

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THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM LEADS A MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT OF THE LARGEST GENETICALLY DIVERSE CORAL OUTPLANTING IN FLORIDA'S HISTORY

 

TAMPA, Fla., Tuesday, April 2, 2019- Beginning tomorrow and for the next week, The Florida Aquarium’s biologists and divers, in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the University of Florida, Nova Southeastern University, and others will embark on an unprecedented conservation mission designed to help the Florida Reef Tract combat a rapidly spreading disease that can potentially put this animal at risk of extinction.
 
Over 3,000 unique genotype corals will be introduced to the Florida Reef Tract. These corals were created from eggs and sperm from the corals in Coral Restoration Foundation Coral Tree nursery, and reared at The Florida Aquarium. They will be outplanted into various specific locations as part of an unprecedented conservation mission.
 
The health of the Florida Reef Tract, which spans nearly 150 miles, from Key Biscayne through the Florida Keys, is the third largest coral barrier reef system in the world, and critical for the animals and people who depend on it. The reefs of the Florida Keys provide food and recreational opportunities for residents and vacationers alike, and protects coastal communities as a buffer for hurricanes and other storms. The economic impact of tourism related to the Florida Reef Tract generates $8.5 billion in economic activity and supports over 70,400 jobs.
 
Recognizing these high stakes, The Florida Aquarium will be leading the largest genetically diverse coral outplanting in Florida’s history along the Florida Reef Tract with many entities helping in this critical conservation initiative.
 
“The Florida Aquarium is proud to be leading this mission. We believe that spawning, rearing and introducing genetically diverse coral is our best hope for saving the Florida Reef Tract,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO, “We could not conduct an outplanting of this scale without the partnership we have with the Coral Restoration Foundation, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and others. This is a prime example of how working together is the key to restoring our Blue Planet.”
 
“Given the challenges facing our reefs, we recognize both the importance and complexity of restoring them,” said FWC Chairman, Robert Spottswood.  “Working together through innovative partnerships such as this one is the first step of many that will bring enhanced genetic diversity and resilience to our reefs.”
 
“We are excited to see these corals, spawned here at Coral Restoration Foundation and reared at The Florida Aquarium returned to our nurseries,” Scott Graves, COO said. “This is the most successful spawning and rearing of staghorn coral to date, and we’re extremely excited to continue to partner with The Florida Aquarium on the project.  These sexual recruits embody a significant increase in the genetic diversity of this imperiled species, and represent a big leap forward for coral reef restoration.”


*All research activities occurred within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and under permit.*

 
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The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship of the natural environment, and a vision to protect and restore our blue planet.
Copyright © 2019. The Florida Aquarium. All rights reserved.

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701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

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January 19, 2019

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Florida Blue grant to support healthy marine ecosystems
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Tampa, FL – The Florida Aquarium will be able to expand its animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts thanks to a grant from Florida Blue. The grant will support The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team, which focuses on protecting and restoring endangered marine life to create a healthier, natural environment and healthy planet.

“Our mission is to help people and communities achieve better health, and a healthy environment and ecosystem are essential to the overall health of our Florida communities,” said David Pizzo, Florida Blue market president for west Florida. “The health of key ocean species has a substantial impact on the overall health of our environment, which is why Florida Blue is proud to support the important work of The Florida Aquarium’s Animal Response Team.”

“The generous support of companies like Florida Blue is crucial to The Florida Aquarium’s efforts to protect and restore our blue planet,” said Roger Germann, The Florida Aquarium President and CEO. “We are grateful to have a wonderful partner in Florida Blue that believes in the importance of the health of our local environment and ecosystem and understands how it can impact human health and therefore is willing to invest in conservation programs like those here at the Aquarium.” 

Florida Blue is providing a two-year, $250,000 grant to the Aquarium to support the expansion of its marine rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
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SCIENTISTS RETURN FROM A MISSION TO SAVE CORAL REEFS IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

 

Tampa, Fl. August 9, 2018- A team of Florida Aquarium scientists and divers just returned after spending 15 days in the Florida Keys for a coral spawn. The team collected 150,000 coral gametes (coral eggs and sperm) during the coral spawn that only happens once a year after a full moon. The team fertilized the eggs and then released thousands back into the wild. The remaining fertilized eggs, or embryos, are being distributed to The Florida Aquarium Center for Conservation, Georgia Aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and Nova Southeastern University to continue research and to grow the coral for a future release.

This comes at a critical time since Florida is in the middle of the largest coral disease outbreak ever recorded, which is rapidly killing 20 different species of coral in the Florida Keys. The staghorn coral species, the primary species that was collected during the coral spawn, is not at immediate threat from the disease. However, it is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Scientists are trying to figure out what's causing the outbreak and how to stop it. The outbreak makes the work on reproducing corals even more important because it’s necessary to raise their offspring.

“This work is more critical than ever due to the current disease outbreak in the Florida Keys,” said Keri O’Neil, Coral Nursery Manager for The Florida Aquarium. “These laboratory fertilization techniques can be used to save many coral species in the future.”

O’Neil believes practicing the techniques could restock Florida's damaged reefs with the corals raised in the laboratory at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach. The lab already houses corals collected from last year’s spawn that will be celebrating their one year birthday and will be released back into the ocean later this year.

The gametes were collected from the Coral Restoration Foundation Coral Nursery, with the work conducted by permit from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The team worked with several partners including the Keys Marine Laboratory, Coral Restoration Foundation, Nova Southeastern University, University of Florida, South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation (SEZARC), Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sea World, Georgia Aquarium, and Horniman Museum and Gardens.

“I think it’s a really good example of the strengths in partnerships that The Florida Aquarium has formed to help save coral reefs,” said O’Neil.


***B-Roll of the Coral Spawn from Underwater Photographers:

https://flaquarium-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/bgallaher_flaquarium_onmicrosoft_com/EjCeZEfHr2NKrqvMRoevnOMBzQyg3L6RwScBRUygAmnhqw?e=322E9t


More on The Florida Aquarium:

  • Voted a Top 3 Aquarium in North America by the readers of USA Today (May 2018)
  • Earned Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Rating (2018)
  • Earned a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator (2018)


Additional information on Coral:

  • Corals are not plants, they're actually animals.
  • Called “the rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs only take up about 2% of the ocean floor, but host about 25% of all ocean species.
  • Coral reefs grow very slowly, at an average rate of just two centimeters per year.
  • Each individual coral is known as a polyp.
  • The annual synchronized spawning of corals is a spectacular event.
  • This mass reproduction only happens once a year.
  • It involves colonies and species of coral polyps simultaneously releasing tiny egg and sperm bundles into the water.

 

 
 

The Florida Aquarium is excited to announce being voted third in the nationwide USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards for Best Aquarium!

The Florida Aquarium, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and 19 other aquariums were nominated by a panel of experts to represent the best aquariums in North America recognized for their fun and educational setting, high quality exhibits and visitor interactions, and the vital role they play in animal conservation by taking part in rescue efforts and advocating for the health of our oceans. The Florida Aquarium was the only aquarium representing Florida in the Best Aquariums category.

“To be nationally recognized in the top three is both exciting and humbling in view of the other world-class aquariums that were in consideration. We want to thank everyone in Tampa Bay, Florida and the nation for their overwhelming support,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “For 23 years our aquarium friends and fans have allowed us to advance ocean conservation through community collaboration, education and entertainment, as well as rolling up our sleeves to save endangered animals through our conservation and research efforts. This vote further signifies we’re doing our part to protect and restore our blue planet for future generations.”

About The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote via online voting, which took place from April 1-30. Visit 10best.com for in depth information.

 

Michelle Uhlig, Dr. Ari Fustukjian and Alex De Mola holding a radiated tortoise from The Florida Aquarium with a box of medical supplies that is on its way to Madagascar to help treat the confiscated tortoises.Credit: The Florida Aquarium.
 

Today, critical medical supplies from The Florida Aquarium are on their way to Madagascar to treat thousands of tortoises that were confiscated from a single residence in the city of Toliara in Madagascar.
 
On April 10, the Turtle Survival Alliance, a global partnership of individuals, zoos, aquariums, biologists and researchers who have joined together to help conserve threatened and endangered tortoise and turtle species, confiscated 10,976 critically endangered radiated tortoises from a personal residence.
 
The tortoises have been temporarily transferred to Villages de Tortues, a secure facility in Madagascar where the animals are receiving initial health evaluations, hydration and triage, but even within the first few days, hundreds of tortoises died from dehydration, malnutrition and illness. As of April 12, 9,760 tortoises are alive, but need immediate help. 
 
More than 20 institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums are sending medical supplies, team members or funds to care for the sick or injured tortoises. The first wave of responders arrived in Madagascar April 23. Many of the animals are in relatively good health and are only in need of water and food. However, responders are currently treating more than 1,000 animals for various conditions from severe to mild and they are still working through the initial assessments to determine if more tortoises have similar conditions. Numerous deceased animals have been sent to onsite veterinarians for necropsy (animal autopsy). 
 
“Illegal wildlife trade is a major problem and can have devastating impacts on sensitive animals like these that are already suffering from other major problems, like habitat loss. This case hits particularly close to home since Day, Night, and Dusk, our three radiated tortoises in the Journey to Madagascar gallery, are here to help educate the public about these very threats,” said Dr. Ari Fustukjian, Associate Veterinarian at The Florida Aquarium. “We are always saddened to hear about cases of illegal animal trafficking, but to see something of this magnitude is truly disheartening. What’s encouraging is to see how people and organizations like ours can pull together to help provide relief.”
 
Madagascar’s radiated tortoise population is threatened with extinction due to rampant hunting for its meat and the illegal pet trade. Radiated tortoises have a unique high dome-shaped shell, covered with a beautiful star-like pattern, which is why they are often collected illegally from the wild in southern Madagascar and shipped to other countries to be sold as pets. The species has been protected by international law since 1975, and was upgraded to “Critically Endangered” in 2008, meaning that they are at risk of extinction.
 
According to the Turtle Survival Alliance, this is the largest confiscation of tortoises or freshwater turtles in the history of the organization, and president and CEO Rick Hudson, believes these animals were destined to be part of the illegal pet trade.
 
Want to help? You can visit the Turtle Survival Alliance here.

 

 
The Florida Aquarium, along with 19 other accredited aquariums, has been nominated by a panel of experts for USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice 2018 awards. The Florida Aquarium is the only aquarium representing Florida in the Best Aquariums category. Vote here: www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-aquarium/.
 
The nominees represent the best aquariums in the country and are recognized for their fun and educational setting, high quality exhibits and visitor interactions, and the vital role they play in animal conservation by taking part in rescue efforts and advocating for the environmental health of our oceans.
 
Vote every day for The Florida Aquarium until voting ends on Monday, April 30 at midnight EDT. The 10 best winners will be announced on Friday, May 4.
 
10 reasons why The Florida Aquarium is one of the 10Best: 
  1. The Florida Aquarium is a must-see for all animal lovers and marine life enthusiasts. With 7,000+ creatures to discover, you can get up-close with the oceans’ top predators – sharks – in a 500,000-gallon underwater habitat, touch a stingray, enjoy frolicking river otters, venture into Madagascar to see leaping lemurs and marvel at our magnificent giant Pacific octopus.
  2. Our coral experts are working on groundbreaking techniques to significantly increase coral conservation and restoration work that would make us the first in the U.S. to replicate wild coral spawning in a lab with multiple species. More info here: https://bit.ly/2GWFIoF
  3. We have educated more than 1.6+ million students about the importance of healthy oceans and the natural environment.
  4. We rescue, rehabilitate and release endangered sea turtles. And, when completed later this year, our new sea turtle hospital will allow us to amplify our sea turtle rescue and recovery efforts. Guests will also be able to view our turtles in various stages of rehabilitation as we model new dive and feeding pools that will assure their readiness for return to the ocean.
  5. You can swim or dive with our sand tiger sharks (and numerous other finned friends) in our 500,000-gallon coral reef habitat and learn how important sharks are to the health and vitality of our oceans.
  6. We vowed to pitch the plastics. We have teamed up with 22 aquariums that comprise the Aquarium Conservation Partnership to drive a shift away from single-use plastic and toward more sustainable alternatives. The partnership has rolled out a nationwide campaign, "In Our Hands," to empower our 20 million visitors and millions more in our communities to make positive behavior changes and raise awareness around how plastic pollution threatens ocean and freshwater animals.
  7. You can get up-close and personal with our African penguins, an endangered species we are working to help conserve through fieldwork in South Africa and by way of education about these incredible animals.
  8. You can experience The Splash Pad, our expansive outdoor, rainforest-themed kids’ play space featuring both wet and dry play elements, lush landscaping and more.
  9. In 2017, The Florida Aquarium hosted six coastal cleanups and collected more than 332 pounds of debris, tires, a pile of construction rubble and 62 bags of trash.
  10. As a nonprofit, your ticket to our Aquarium helps support our mission to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship of the natural environment

Former JP Morgan Chase Executive Daniel Borasch Elected Chair of The Florida Aquarium


(Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 – Tampa, Florida) – Yesterday at the annual meeting of The Florida Aquarium Board of Directors, Daniel Borasch was unanimously elected chairman by his peers. Borasch, who retired in 2015 from his position as President Middle Market West Florida with JP Morgan Chase, was installed for his two-year term as the Aquarium’s Board Chairman by outgoing Chair, W. Mark Watson.
 
Borasch has more than 40 years of experience in the banking industry, covering international, large corporate and middle market clients. Previously, he worked in client management for Bank of America, LaSalle Bank, Wachovia and Manufacturers Hanover Trust. Borasch joined The Florida Aquarium’s Board of Directors in 2001.
 
“The strong leadership and vision Dan brings to The Florida Aquarium Board as our new Chair will ensure the Aquarium continues to be a strong pillar of the community and one of the nation’s most respected aquariums,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO. “Dan’s passion for conservation and for the Aquarium being a world-class attraction will usher in a new and exciting chapter in our history. The staff and volunteers look forward to working closely with Dan and the entire Board of Directors.”
 
Additionally, Germann praised W. Mark Watson for his leadership as immediate past Chair. “Under Mark’s leadership, the Aquarium continued to thrive and completed several major initiatives, including the completion of the Aquarium’s $15 million capital campaign, opening of several new attractions, expanding the role of The Center for Conservation, and elevating the Aquarium’s profile in the community. We can’t thank him enough for his incredible leadership and continued commitment to our mission.”
 
During his tenure as Board Chair, Watson also led the committee that undertook a nationwide search to secure a new president and Chief Executive Officer for the Aquarium.
 
The 25-member Board of Directors also elected some new members at Thursday’s meeting, including:

Reginald Goins is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Coca-Cola Beverages Florida. Goins has been with the Coca-Cola system for more than 20 years, holding key management positions such as Market Unit Vice President – Ohio/Kentucky for Coca-Cola Refreshments, Area Vice President of Sales for Coca-Cola North America (CCNA), and Director of Sales & Marketing for CCNA. Prior to joining the Coca-Cola System, Goins held key positions for Philip Morris, Exxon and Ford Motor Company. Goins and his family reside in Tampa, Florida.

Ted A. Beattie served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium from 1994 to 2016, when he retired. During his 33-year career in zoos and aquariums, Beattie’s marine expertise helped guide the creation of new ocean policies. Beattie is a former president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy by President George W. Bush in 2001. He and his wife currently reside in Sarasota, Florida.

Kimberly Bruce is the National Small Business Client Management Executive at Bank of America. In this role, Bruce leads a team of 12 market managers and approximately 170 client managers responsible for retaining, deepening and developing relationships with more than 110,000 small business clients located throughout the U.S. She has more than 26 years of experience in banking, with the majority of her experience as a senior client manager in the middle market segment. Bruce earned her B.A. in Government & Business Administration from University of Notre Dame and her MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She and her family reside in Tampa, Florida. The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship about our natural environment. The Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Copyright © 2017. The Florida Aquarium. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602

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