I'll start by giving a little (for me) history of the site I webmaster. Ken Nedimyer is a collector and seller of sustainable corals in the keys (I webmaster www.sealifeinc.net
for him as well). Over the 26+ years he has been collecting and selling he has seen, first hand, the dieing off of the keys reefs. Many of you that have kept reefs for over 10 years may remember Martin Moe (author and pioneer for reef aquariums). Several years ago Ken and Martin believed that some of the die-off was directly attributed to the loss of the long spined urchin due to an unknown virus and began a 2 year ( http://www.reefball.com/map/diademas...ma study.htm
) study both here and in the Bahamas to see if, the urchins could be transplanted and if it made a difference. Their study showed positive impact and Ken has started an urchin evacuation program to move the babies from unsafe, destroyed areas to safer havens during hurricane season.
Ken also started a live rock aquaculture farm prior to the closure of the wild live rock harvest in Florida. The closure of the wild harvest of live rock was incremental, which allowed licensed divers to create these farms (from dead rock, 3 miles off-shore). While "farming" the rock he noticed that he was getting bits of staghorn coral growing voluntarily so he started experimenting with the idea of being able to sell the coral for a nice profit. About the time he and his daughter had successfully cultivated and grown enough frags on the farm they started to rethink its use and approached the Florida Keys national Marine Sanctuary sanctuary with the thought of using the new frags to repopulate some of the dieing reefs. Ultimately, NOAA scientists tested the corals for enough biodiversity to sanction the idea and finally the first of the new corals has been planted at a reef badly damaged by a shipwreck (1984 Wellwood grounding - Molasses Reef - http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/special/...d/project.html
Ken now tends the coral nursery at the farm and collaborates researchers at Mote's Lower Keys Tropical Research Laboratory, The Nature Conservancy , and the National Coral disease Health Consortium . He has also reorganized a not for profit company, now called Coral Restoration Foundation, to promote education, hands-on 6 month internships and greater awareness of the problems and people working on solutions. The website and company are still in the infancy stages but the links page gives a view of last year's events that led up to this revitalized company effort: www.coralrestoration.org