Florida Tech earns $50,000 grant to create coral database

September 23, 2004

MELBOURNE, FLA. - Florida Tech faculty, Dr. Robert van Woesik, associate professor of biological sciences; Dr. Semen Koksal, professor of mathematical sciences; and Dr. Phil Bernhard, associate professor of computer sciences, have earned a $50,000 grant from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to set up a Coral Database (CoralData) node for the southeast region of the U.S. The team hopes to extend this database to include a national database and ultimately an international coral database.

CoralData aims to increase understanding of the distribution and abundance of corals and could eventually provide information required to detect shifting patterns of degradation and recovery at both the local and regional levels. The ability to forecast the response of reef corals to environmental conditions, as a function of natural variability and human influence, will be a key element in the practical application of project results.

Van Woesik, a noted expert on coral bleaching, has established a Web site for the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS), which is hosted by Florida Tech. He is working with Koksal to create a model to better understand and predict deadly coral bleaching.
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Florida Institute of Technology

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