Making a Difference in the Southwest Florida Waters
Kimberly's Reef is FGCU's official research reef which is located 10 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in 30 feet of water, the FGCU artificial reef brings a living laboratory to the coastal waters off Collier and Lee Counties – only a 25-minute boat ride away. The reef’s size and location lends itself to essential research and community outreach.
About Kimberly's Reef
The FGCU Research Reef: Kimberly’s Reef, symbolizes the hopes, dreams, and joy that the future holds for our nation and its goal for a cleaner environment. The reef is named in honor of Kimberly Anne Rieseberg, daughter of Eric Rieseberg who died of cancer on her fourth birthday. As those of you who have lost your child, the loss cuts deep and forever. The loss represents the loss of hope; all of the dreams, goodness and happiness that a child would grow up to experience. This reef will be a venue for the students of FGCU, the scientific community and the Lee and Collier County communities, all who visit, to enjoy through a donation made by Eric Rieseberg and Helen Noble Rieseberg.
This inter-disciplinary research and education platform will provide students and the scientific community with hands-on opportunities to research and test applications and solutions within their fields of study – ranging from environmental science to engineering, and education to art. Kimberly's will serve as an exclusive training site for FGCU scientific divers as they pursue their AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) certification.
Kimberly's Reef will be a research platform in the Gulf of Mexico, providing data to study water quality, sustainability, ecosystem and human health – all of which impact coastal communities in the state of Florida. This local data source will provide valuable resources and information to coastal communities throughout Florida and other parts of the United States. The oceanographic sensors and instrumentation housed on the FGCU buoy system will monitor the meteorological and oceanographic conditions of the reef area and relay data to the base station installed at the Vester Field Station.
The reef will provide favorable habitats for fish, coral, sponges and other marine life, augmenting the resiliency of our coastal waters against impacts including red tide, hypoxia, and eutrophication. Such resiliency is needed to provide faster recovery from red tide and other impacts, and the data being collected on-site in real time will allow us to study the impacts and recovery in greater detail, thereby providing a mechanism to devise solutions to reduce and mitigate such impacts.
Kimberly's Reef will generate multiple recreational benefits to the hospitality industry, boating and fishing, scientific (AAUS certified) and recreational diving — all business and tourism related. It will also create marine and land-based business opportunities in biotech and scientific industries that locate their business operations near specialized graduate academic institutions.
The oceanographic sensors and instrumentation housed on the buoy will monitor the meteorological and oceanographic conditions of the gulf and reef area, and relay the data to the base station installed at the Vester Field Station. Through the Buoy System, we become an integral tracking center, part of the National Weather Service network for marine and weather forecasting, hurricane and severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring.
- protecting health and public safety
- supporting healthy ecosystems and water quality
- mitigating the effects of storms and man-made disasters
- ensuring safe and efficient marine operations
- monitoring the Gulf for long-term changes and environmental trends
Educational activities will focus on grade level-appropriate science projects that will demonstrate the importance of environmental stewardship in our coastal waters. Dive events, fishing tournaments, state institution scientific dive days, are a few of the community outreach prospects.