Oculina Research Project
From the 18th through the 26th of October 2001, on board the NOAA ship Ferrel, members of the Panama City NMFS Laboratory in conjunction with Florida State University and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute conducted a habitat restoration cruise in the EORR. The main goals of the cruise were: (1) to begin rehabilitation of fish habitat through the deployment of coral-head-shaped artificial structures and (2) to initiate broad-scale habitat restoration using rapid inexpensive transplant methods. All of the work was done in the Sebastian Pinnacle area of the EORR. All major objectives for this cruise were accomplished; 120 concrete reef balls were deployed at 6 sites, 20 reef balls per site. Live Oculina varicosa colonies, approximately 6" in diameter, and small Oculina fragments were attached to each reef ball with concrete and cable ties. In addition to the reef balls, 450 patio stones with an Oculina fragment attached to the top of a 1' PVC pipe were deployed. The patio stones were deployed at 18 different stations, 25 per station, with half the sites containing a large fragment and the other half a small fragment.