October 15, 1980 The Coral Reef: Researching a Living System opens at the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition marks the first time it has been possible to keep a large reef community, including corals, alive and functioning in isolation from the sea. A laboratory area adjoins the exhibit where research is conducted on the reef system. This is the first time an ongoing research project has been located in the museum’s exhibition area.
The National Museum of Natural History manages the Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems (CCRE) Program, a long term field site dedicated to investigations of coral reefs and associated mangroves, seagrass meadows and sandy bottoms. Field operations are based at the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station on the Meso-American Barrier Reef in Belize.
Carrie Bow Cay Field Station serves as a permanent site in the Smithsonian’s Tenenbaum Marine Obvservatories Network, a global-scale network of sites which spans latitudes and ocean basins. For over forty years, research at Carrie Bow Cay Field Station has focused on the topography, origin, geological development, and oceanography of the Meos-American Reef and its numerous islands, as well as the biodiversity, evolution, and ecology of its organisms and communities.
Posted: 15 October 2019