July 2019
 With 30 years of unique data from Looe Key Reef in the lower Florida Keys, Researcher Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and collaborators have discovered that the problem of coral bleaching is not just due to a warming planet, but also a planet that is simultaneously being enriched with reactive nitrogen from multiple sources.
Using a 19-year record of satellite observations from NASA, Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., co-author and a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute who has studied Sargassum for more than four decades, is among a team of scientists who have discovered the world’s largest macroalgae bloom.

The “Great Atlantic  Sargassum Belt” extends from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. Last year, the massive 8,850-kilometer bloom contained more than 20 million tons of  Sargassum biomass. This recurrent bloom and beaching events may just become the “new normal,” according to a study published in  Science.

Today, July 26, FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Co-Founder Edwin A. Link would have turned 115 years old. Link was a pioneer in aviation, underwater archeology and submersibles. 

In 1971, Link helped to create Harbor Branch as an independent research institution with the financial support of founder J. Seward Johnson. He designed and developed numerous devices to aid scientific research, including Johnson-Sea-Link Class submersibles, which were built by a team of Harbor Branch engineers. 

Did you know before they went to outer space Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin dived down with FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute's former Marine Operations Director, in the world’s first diver lockout submersible called “Deep Diver," built by Link. You can still see the original "Deep Diver" submersible in our Johnson Education Center located on campus. 
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is hosting the third meeting of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute's Johnson Education Center on Thursday, August 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In May, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed FAU Harbor Branch Executive Director, Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., to the Task Force. The key focus is to support funding and restoration initiatives, such as prioritizing solutions and making recommendations to expedite nutrient reductions in Lake Okeechobee and the downstream estuaries. The meeting will be streamed live online.
Student Spotlight
The largest class of FAU Harbor Branch summer interns will be presenting the results of their research. The 25 students will present their work during the Summer Intern Symposium on Wednesday, July 31 in the Johnson Education Auditorium from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

You can also view via live stream. The Harbor Branch Summer Intern Program began in 1974 and continues to attract top undergraduate and graduate students for a 10-week internship with FAU Harbor Branch mentors. These presentations are the high point of the internship experience for the students.

The Link Foundation, Gertrude E. Skelly Charitable Foundation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation, James Pomponi Memorial Internship, and the Fort Pierce Yacht Club sponsored the 2019 interns. 
Faculty Spotlight
FAU Harbor Branch Florida Pompano Aquaculture Project
Paul Wills, Ph.D., Susan Laramore, Ph.D., and the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute's Aquaculture and Stock Enhancement Team recently completed the first experiment of the "Final Steps Towards Commercialization of Pompano Aquaculture," Florida Sea Grant Project. During the 12-week experiment, researchers fed juvenile fish ten diets with various prebiotic and probiotic feed additives. Over the next few months, the researchers will analyze the pompano fish to determine which treatments provided increased growth, improved health status, and survival rates. In 2018, Florida Sea grant provided the FAU Harbor Branch team with $701 thousand in NOAA funds to support the research. 
FAU Harbor Branch Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology (CIOERT) Scientists release a sponge photo identification guide for Cuba's Mesophotic Coral Reef. Cuba has the largest shelf habitat in the Caribbean and while its shallow coral reef communities are well-studied, little is known about the country’s mesophotic coral ecosystems. This new book is part of a series resulting from CIOERT's US-Cuba expedition to study Cuba’s Mesophotic Coral Reefs in 2017. The guide represents a total of 230 species of Porifera from the deepwater reefs surrounding Cuba. 
In the News
Institutions Generate Jobs to Spread Wealth Throughout

Treasure Coast Business recently featured how FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is boosting the local economy by millions of dollars while putting the area on the map with each significant discovery published by research scientists.

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Huge Seaweed Bloom is the Largest in the World | The...

A huge mass of seaweed stretches from Africa to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and is the largest seaweed bloom in the world. The Weather Channel featured Brian Lapointe, a sargassum expert at FAU Harbor Branch.

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We finally know why Florida's coral reefs are dying, and ...

Climate change is killing the world’s coral reefs. But it’s not the only factor turning them into white, dead husks. The Washington Post interviewed FAU Harbor Branch Researcher Brian Lapointe Ph.D., about the findings of his recent study.

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Florida's Corals Are Dying Off, But It's Not All Due...

NPR recently hosted Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, who has spent his career studying corals at the Looe Key Reef, in a National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys.

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FAU Researchers Matt Ajemian, Ph.D. and Steve Kajiura, Ph.D. were recently featured in National Geographic's, "When Sharks Attack" episode, "The Shark Bite State." Dr. Ajemian explained how the Indian River Lagoon is the largest bull shark nursery on the east coast.
Mission: Ocean Discovery
FAU Harbor Branch is helping St. Lucie County in protecting our slice of paradise as one of South Florida's WRAP Champions. The FAU Harbor Branch Ocean Discovery Visitors Center is now a designated drop-off recycling location. You can now recycle plastic bags to bubble wrap and clear wrap found on products in our drop-off recycling bin during business hours. 
Job & Training Opportunities
FAU's Harbor Branch is hiring! Multiple positions are available including Postdoctoral Fellowships and a Water Quality Analyst to work with the Indian River Lagoon Observatory.
About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute: 
Founded in 1971, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research community of marine scientists, engineers, educators and other professionals focused on Ocean Science for a Better World. The institute drives innovation in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, ocean observing systems and marine education.