May 2021

A new study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute reveals how a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections in humans is showing promise in treating disease-affected coral colonies. The study published in Scientific Reports found that amoxicillin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections in humans, has a 95 percent success rate at healing individual disease lesions in stony corals. Erin N. Shilling, M.S., is the first author and a recent graduate of the Marine Science and Oceanography masters degree program at FAU Harbor Branch... Read More

An 18,000lb sperm whale with a rope around its bottom jaw died off on Herman's Bay in St. Lucie County on Saturday after becoming beached. The FAU Harbor Branch Marine Mammal Rescue Team and collaborators performed a necropsy on the 26.5 ft-long sperm whale to collect samples and try to determine a cause of death. Stranding response conducted under a stranding agreement between NOAA Fisheries Service (NMFS) and FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (FAU Harbor Branch) under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).To report a marine mammal stranding, call 1-888-404-FWCC... Newsweek
Ocean Exploration Exhibit

FAU Harbor Branch installed a temporary display highlighting 50 years of ocean exploration at the Manatee Observation & Education Center in downtown Fort Pierce.  The Center is reopening to the public on Saturday, May 1. Make sure to check out our “Community Partner Exhibit.” It will be on display for the next four months.
Faculty Spotlight

Mike Twardowski, Ph.D., research professor at FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, landed an $11M four-year contract from the United States Office of Naval Research to study bioluminescence. One of the first goals of the project is to develop a compact, state-of-art bathyphotometer, which measures the amount of light emitted directly by animals and algae... Read More

Novel drug leads for malaria therapy are urgently needed due to widespread emergence of resistance to all available drugs. A grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provided funding for the Chakrabarti Lab at the University of Central Florida to test fractions from FAU Harbor Branch's extensive collection of organisms collected from deep-water habitats for their ability to inhibit growth of the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria (Dd2); while the Wright lab at FAU Harbor Branch purified and identified the active natural products. Recently the team reported the identification of antiplasmodials that have novel properties amongst antimalarial drugs. This work was recently published in the journal Marine Drugs and was selected for the cover of the journal. You can read more about the research here.

A FAU Harbor Branch study is among the top 25 most downloaded Ecology papers from Scientific Reports in 2020! The study, led by Greg O’Corry-Crowe, Ph.D., is the first to analyze the relationship between group behaviors, group type, group dynamics, and kinship in beluga whales. Findings, reveal several unexpected results. Not only do beluga whales regularly interact with close kin, including close maternal kin, they also frequently associate with more distantly related and unrelated individuals... Read More
Postdoc Spotlight

Yanjun Li, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow and a mechanical engineer who develops sensors, structures and underwater platforms/vehicles for ocean-related applications. Li’s future endeavors include building a structure with partnering technology that will recognize and identify sea life and organisms, and robotics which can collect plastics from the ocean effectively and efficiently before they degrade into microplastics… Read More

Abdiel Laureano-Rosario, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Coastal Center for Human Health at FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Laureano-Rosario works as a data synthesist alongside a large team of interdisciplinary FAU Harbor Branch scientists, researching the effects of harmful algae blooms in the Indian River Lagoon, which produce toxins that can poison marine life, surrounding ecosystems and cause lasting water damage... Read More
In the News

FAU Harbor Branch Affiliate Faculty Members Jon Shenker, Ph.D., Florida Tech professor emeritus, and Aaron Adams, Ph.D., Bonefish & Tarpon Trust scientific and conservation director with two FAU Harbor Branch graduate students, are conducting a two-year scientific study at Bee Gum Point Preserve. The research may yield important information to help control mosquitoes, enhance sport fish populations, and improve the overall health of the 156-mile estuary. The study is funded through the Indian River Land Trust from the IRL National Estuary Program. FAU Harbor Branch is proud to work with other organizations to improve and restore the IRL... Read More

A group of engineers led by FAU Harbor Branch Researcher Bing Ouyang invented a new robotics system based on machine-learning algorithms that can modernize the industry and automate water-quality monitoring in aquaculture. Ouyang is the co-inventor of the technology, the patent application was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 4... Read More
FAU Funder

FAU Funder, FAU’s crowdfunding platform, features several of FAU Harbor Branch’s research projects. You can help save the queen conch, support plastic pollution studies in local waters, fund beluga whale research in the Arctic or help researchers as they use deep sea molecules for potential life-saving medicines. Please visit FAU Funder for detailed information on each project. Your contributions can make a difference!
Mission: Ocean Discovery

The Spring 2021 John & Barbara Ferrera Ocean Science Lecture Series is underway virtually via Zoom. All lectures are free and open to the public; For more information, visit here.
Wednesday, May 5 at 4 p.m.
"Wonders of Greenland: Holy Giant Iceberg!"
Ellen Prager, Ph.D., Marine scientist and author

With incredible images and fun stories, Dr. Prager will introduce you to the wonders of Ilulissat, Greenland and why she chose it as the setting for her latest adventure novel for middle schoolers, “Escape Greenland.” See and learn about the astonishing Kangia Icefjord, humpback whales, and how climate change is influencing the region. Dr. Prager will also preview the real vs made-up section of the book to see if audience members can tell which parts of the story are based on real science and which are pure fiction. This will be entertaining and informative for all ages!

Bring Ocean Science for A Better World® right into your home with virtual resources from FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute! Online offerings include lectures, interviews with marine scientists, activities for children and much more! Visit our virtual resources page to learn about these great opportunities for teachers, students and ocean lovers of all ages!... Learn More

As a health and safety precaution, FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center is temporarily closed. Please check back for updates.

Visit FAU Harbor Branch social media channels for daily research highlights, facts and trivia questions.

Also, make sure to check out our new online gift shop!

Through FAU Harbor Branch Speakers Bureau, community organizations may request a virtual presentation on a specific research topic or a general overview of FAU Harbor Branch. This program provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the institute’s most recent discoveries and connect with marine science experts. There is no charge for scheduling a speaker, however an honorarium or donation is encouraged.

If you would like to request a virtual speaker for your group/event, please fill out FAU Harbor Branch Speakers Bureau request form.