Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mandarin Resident Studies Coral Reefs in Fla. Keys

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mandarin Resident Studies Coral Reefs in Fla. Keys

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAKAYA ANDRES

Brad Bullington, 24, a University of North Florida senior and Mandarin resident, isn't a novice when it comes to working long hours on a research project.

In fact, it was his enthusiasm, hard work and passion for coral reefs that afforded him the opportunity to travel to the Mote Marine Laboratory in Summerland Key May 2-10 to study the impact on the settlement of Mustard Hill coral larvae -baby coral - when it is exposed to different concentrations of red tide.

The hands-on research project entailed diving into the ocean to collect adult coral, setting them up safely in a lab to collect their larvae when they were released, and safely returning the adults back to the reef, said Cliff Ross, UNF assistant professor.

Bullington said his trip to the Keys to research was one he was excited to go on and that it was a wonderful experience.

"I felt honored for the opportunity to be included on such an important project," he said.

Courtney Hackney, director of the Coastal Biology program at UNF, said this is the program's first year and that it's off to a tremendous start. According to the school's Web site, the program is the university's fourth flagship program, one that gets funding from the president. It's worth more than $1 million for four years, and the goal is to get the program to the point that it's recognized nationally and to expose students to real science while giving them all the necessary tools to be successful in their careers, Hackney said.

"When we do research we involve students," Hackney said. "We want to train them to be scientists."

Impacts of Red Tide and Associated Toxins on Scleractinian Coral Health and Settlement, a grant worth approximately $20,000, made the trip to the Keys possible, providing funding for equipment, supplies and travel. …

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