Rescue a Reef

Are you ready to help support the restoration of endangered staghorn corals? Learn how to support coral nurseries and staghorn restoration with a generous donation to SRC reef research!


Staghorn corals are important coral reef engineers, providing essential habitat for many other reef organisms. Unfortunately, coral populations have drastically declined and are threatened with extinction due to climate change, pollution, disease, overfishing, and habitat destruction.
The University of Miami’s coral restoration project, in collaboration with the Shark Research & Conservation Program, focuses on propagating threatened Caribbean staghorn coral in underwater coral nurseries. Nursery-reared corals are then outplanted to local reefs to enhance local staghorn populations and promotes natural recovery.
For more information on the history of coral gardening and our coral restoration techniques, click here!
Become a Citizen Scientist on our Rescue A Reef Expeditions

Join us for a day of coral research and restoration on the beautiful coral reefs of South Florida! Learn about coral reef conservation and work alongside UM researchers as they create a sustainable source of staghorn coral for use in reef restoration activities. Visit the coral nursery to gather fragments and help plant these new corals onto nearby wild reefs. This is your chance to dive into coral restoration at the University of Miami with SRC!

Trip Details:

  • Half-Day Research Expedition (8am – 1pm) departing from Key Biscayne, FL
  • 2 shallow Scuba dives/snorkels with hands-on participation in restoration led by UM Researchers
  • Coral Reef Expert Q&A
  • Snacks & Water Included
  • SKILL REQUIREMENT: All participants must have at least Open Water dive certification, must be able to swim, and strong snorkeling skills are preferred. ALL participants must be at least 18 years old
  • We offer trips for individuals, private charters, and corporate groups

    For more information or to reserve your spot on a Rescue A Reef expedition, please contact Dalton Hesley

  • What is Rescue A Reef?

    The University of Miami’s coral restoration program is a citizen science project designed to support coral reef research and restoration activities to restore local staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) populations on Miami’s coral reefs. We provide a unique, hands-on educational experience in coral reef conservation lead by UM researchers in which community members have the opportunity to actively participate in coral reef restoration efforts. Our mission is to educate and engage the local community, increase scientific literacy in coastal and coral reef conservation, and foster ocean stewardship.

    Learn how Rescue A Reef works

    Donation Instructions

    Donations to Rescue A Reef help fund the ongoing effort to restore staghorn corals to local reefs in South Florida. Any donation amount is helpful and much appreciated!

    Here is how your donations contribute to coral reef restoration:

      $10+: Funds the outplanting of one nursery-reared staghorn coral to a local reef
      $100: Funds the outplanting of 10 nursery-reared staghorn corals to a local reef
      $1,000: Your donation will support the outplanting of 100 corals onto a local reef! As a thank you, you will have the opportunity to name your rescued site!

    For more information about donation packages, please contact Dalton Hesley

    Step 1
    Click the ‘Rescue a Reef’ Button here.
    Step 2
    Decide on your donation package, and write it in the amount box.
    Step 3
    Under designation drop-down menu, select “Rescue A Reef Program Fund”
    Step 4
    IMPORTANT! Email Dalton Hesley to learn more about the next steps in the donation process.
    Tax Deductible — The University of Miami is a Florida not-for-profit corporation and all donations are tax deductible as appropriate by law.
    More Questions?

    For more information about Rescue A Reef or the Shark Research & Conservation Program, please contact Dalton Hesley:

    Dalton Hesley
    Phone: 305-421-4209