November 2020

In a race to solve a major challenge for conservation aquaculture, a breakthrough by researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) is the first in the world to successfully spawn bonefish in captivity – in just four years.

In this research breakthrough, bonefish adults held in the laboratory have been conditioned to produce eggs and milt and then induced to spawn entirely under controlled environmental conditions. In addition, researchers have been able to reduce the time between spawns to about four months instead of the 12-month natural spawning cycle... Read More

Researchers from FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and collaborators are the first to obtain a quantitative number for biomass from oceanic plastic debris using a novel visualization method that provides the first estimate of its kind... Read More

FAU was proud to host the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy Dan Simmons and Chief of Staff Zachery Michael at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute on Oct. 22 to highlight the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center’s efforts to promote marine renewables, blue economy, and energy security for the nation.

FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is providing the Ocean Discovery program this year to more than 100 children of the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County, making this the biggest year yet. Outreach scientists deliver marine science activity kits to seven local Clubs each week and host virtual lessons... Read More
Researcher Spotlight

Gulf of Mexico deep-sea corals will soon be protected as part of a first-of-its-kind plan to safeguard some of the region's important coral hotspots and restrict damaging fishing gear in most of the areas. FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute scientists were instrumental in the discovery and proposals for most of the deep coral sites off the west Florida shelf... Read More
Researcher Malcolm McFarland received the Public Environmental Education Award during Keep Martin Beautiful's Virtual Environmental Stewardship Awards. As a research associate Dr. McFarland has extensive expertise in phytoplankton taxonomy and ecology acquired through more than 20 years of experience conducting lab and field-based research. He actively mentors students and researchers and participates in outreach and communication on harmful algal bloom and water quality issues through local and national news outlets and public presentations. 

FAU Harbor Branch researcher Jordon Beckler, Ph.D. and Ph.D. Student Matt Quinan are on a research expedition onboard the R/V Savannah. Their mission in the Gulf is to look at effects of ocean hypoxia and acidification (climate change) on sediments and vice versa. 

Tiny pieces of plastic, known as microplastics, have been found in the most remote areas of the world. With your help, we can investigate sources of microplastics, the health impacts on inshore fish, and the biomagnification potential of plastic additives up the food chain in patch reef ecosystems in the Florida Keys. Support the research.

The Marine Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Program is exploring the oceans to identify new medicines with the ability to fight dreaded diseases, including pancreatic cancer. Your donations will support our staff to conduct the experiments and provide supplies required to run the tests and identify the natural products. Support the research.
FAU Harbor Branch In the News

FAU President John Kelly welcomed EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Florida Atlantic University this month for a discussion on marine litter and ocean plastics. FAU Harbor Branch Executive Director Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., and Researcher Tracy Mincer, Ph.D. joined the conversation. FAU Harbor Branch is leading research and awareness efforts to address the marine litter crisis and find solutions... Read More

Algicides can be used to kill algae, said James M. Sullivan, executive director of Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Fort Pierce and a member of the Florida Blue-Green Algae Task Force.... TC Palm

The FAU Harbor Branch Stranding and Population Assessment Team responded to a call for support from Florida Fish and Wildlife for a stranded dwarf sperm whale in Vero Beach. Unfortunately, the whale didn’t survive. The 6ft long carcass was transported to FAU Harbor Branch for a necropsy.

Stranding response conducted under a Stranding Agreement between NMFS and FAU's Harbor Branch under the authority of the MMPA... CBS12
Mission: Ocean Discovery

Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will host the fall 2020 “John & Barbara Ferrera Ocean Science Lecture Series” virtually with two lectures on Wednesday, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. The lectures will take place via Zoom. 

Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D., FAU Harbor Branch research professor, will open the series with a discussion on “NEEMO 23: Simulating Space Exploration in a Real-Life Undersea Environment.” FAU Harbor Branch research professor Dennis Hanisak, Ph.D. will present “IRLON 2.0: Addressing Emerging Environmental Issues in the Indian River Lagoon” the following month. All lectures are free and open to the public; to register, visit

Bring Ocean Science for A Better World® right into your home with virtual resources from FAU's 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's Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center is temporarily closed. Please check back for updates.

Visit FAU's 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's Harbor Branch Speakers Bureau, community organizations may request a virtual presentation on a specific research topic or a general overview of FAU's 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's Harbor Branch Speakers Bureau request form.