Making a difference in the Southwest Florida waters.
Located 10 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in 30 feet of water, the FGCU Kimberly’s Research Artificial Reef Complex brings a living laboratory to the coastal waters off Collier and Lee Counties – only a 25-minute boat ride away. The reef’s areal size and location lends itself to essential research and community outreach.
DONATE TO RAISE THE REEF IN 2021
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. The reef complex will also serve as an exclusive training site for FGCU scientific divers as they pursue their AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) certification.
The reef complex 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.
The reef 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.
DONATE TO RAISE THE REEF IN 2021