When the weather gives you lemons…you work with coral at Mote! The past three days, five SCUBAnauts from different chapters in Florida embarked on a mission to assist Audrey B. on her Masternaut project. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different plan for us and our last day of fish surveys was canceled.


Brooke and Graham show off the vet check racks they built in Key Largo.

Of course this does not mean a day of rest for a SCUBAnaut! Behind the scenes, plans were shifted and we were able to head to Key Largo’s First Land-Based Coral Nursery ran by Mote Marine Laboratories. When we arrived we were given a brief tour before getting down to business.


Our first task was to build Vet Check (Outplant) racks. These racks are crucial to keep corals off of the bottom of the raceways and they are vital for coral transportation. While a small group worked on Vet Check Racks the other SCUBAnauts were hanging corals on tree spines. This helped make more room in the nursery for more endangered corals.


After the Vet Check Racks were completed Captain Humphreys and I worked tediously to build five runways for the corals raceways. These runways keep the corals from growing and attaching to the raceway’s floor. When these tasks were accomplished four large coolers of Acropora Cervicornis arrived. This coral is an endangered species so this job was extremely delicate. We unpacked over 400 corals onto the raceways.


Brooke installs PVC structures in a coral raceway designed to support coral fragments.

As we were leaving we got some really exciting news. The coral that we just unpacked happened to be packed and shipped from Dr Williams at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. Dr Williams happens to be the chapter scientist for my specific SCUBAnauts chapter! This endangered coral came full circle from one SCUBAnaut Leader to a group of young ocean advocates. So all in all we took the lemons and made lemonade!

— Brooke B., 2nd Class Naut, Sarasota Chapter