Welcome to the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Oceanographic Campus Library Coral Reef Research Guide!
It also provides an overview of the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center and the current coral reef research happening at NSU.
Photo credit: Zach Ostroff, Nova Southeastern University. ShutterShark competition, First Place: Seascape Photography
Coral reefs are among the largest, most beautiful living structures on Earth. They have been in existence for more than 215 million years. These diverse ecosystems support a vast array of organisms that depend on coral reefs for habitat, food and shelter. Coral reefs provide physical barriers to coastal erosion and protection from storm waves and tsunamis.
Reefs are also an important economic resource. They are homes for commercially and recreationally important species of fish; roughly 25 percent of the ocean’s fish species emanate from coral reef habitats. Reefs are also sources of recreation and tourism; millions of tourists and residents enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing on the reefs --- activities that provide a major source of income and employment for communities around the world and in the Sunshine State’s coastal communities.
Florida is home to 84 percent of the nation’s reef ecosystems. These contribute over $6 billion annually to South Florida’s economy and result in over 71,000 jobs such as restaurants, hotels, retail, cruise lines, dive shops, tour group operators, researchers, academia, public sector, etc. Small business owners depend heavily on tourists who come to Florida for recreation on the reefs.
Photo credit: John J. Alfirevich, Nova Southeastern University. ShutterShark competition, Overall Winner and First Place: Anthropogenic Impacts/Conservation
Reefs in peril
Richard E. Dodge, Ph.D., dean emeritus of NSU’s Oceanographic Center and executive director NSU’s National Coral Reef Institute, notes that reefs have been ravaged by a number of stresses, including global threats such as rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, and by local threats including pollution, overfishing, and coastal development. Rising ocean temperatures are causing coral bleaching, which can lead to loss of coral tissue, disease, and ultimately, death. Increasing ocean acid content, even by small amounts, makes it more difficult for corals to build their skeletons, and so the very structure of reefs can be endangered.
It has been estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs are already severely degraded or lost, and a very high percentage of reefs are in danger. Some experts predict reefs could be wiped out within a human generation unless corrective action is taken.
NSU's Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center
The Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center (GHOC) of NSU is the center of numerous research and conservation efforts. The scientists and students from NSU’s Halmos College of Arts and Sciences are undertaking research projects to assess, monitor, and restore our coral reefs. Students studying for their Bachelors in Marine Biology, their M.S. in Marine Science, or their Ph.D. in Marine Biology work alongside top coral researchers to study and develop ways to conserve our oceans and our reefs. The GHOC is also home to the National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI), the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), and the Save Our Seas Foundation's Shark Research Center (SOSF-SRC). Learn more about the Oceanographic Center and these organizations on our About the Oceanographic Center tab.
Photo credit: Richard Harrison, Nova Southeastern University. NSU Archives, Richard Harrison Underwater Photography Slide Collection
Learn more about coral reefs
The libraries of NSU have many resources available to NSU students via the Oceanographic Campus Library, and the public via the Alvin Sherman Library. Use this guide to learn find information on coral reefs and to learn more about the coral research happening at NSU!