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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Dr. Margaret Miller speaks to MAST Academy about coral reefs

Research Director for SECORE International creates a discussion about saving corals
Valentina Palanda
Dr. Margaret Miller, Research Director for SECORE International, speaks to MAST Academy students about coral reefs in the school’s auditorium on Sept. 15, 2023.

MAST Academy hosted guest speaker Dr. Margaret Miller on Friday afternoon, who wanted to open up a discussion about saving coral reefs.

Starting out as a biology and math major, Dr. Miller went on to get her Ph.D. in Marine Ecology and currently serves as the research director for SECORE International.

Dr. Miller opened up her discussion on saving corals with information on how temperature causes corals to bleach.

“The beaches are starting to feel like hot tubs,” Dr. Miller said when discussing how Florida corals are facing a Degree Heating Week (DHW) of 11-16.

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Corals are generally in waters that are around 30 degrees Celsius, however Florida’s waters have been near the 40 degrees Celsius. Such dramatic temperatures are the main cause of coral bleaching, which is when corals turn white due to the stress of their environment.

“This is way beyond icky for the corals, it is dangerous,” Dr. Miller said.

Although the restoration of corals is an immense task, Dr. Miller has hope for the future of coral populations.

One solution Dr. Miller brings up is to create more corals, as corals produce many eggs and sperm that allow for genetic adaptations over time. Furthermore, Dr. Miller brings up the importance of people in the effort of saving corals.

“If we want to fix these problems, we need to use our voices and speak to the people that can change the laws,” Dr. Miller said.


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About the Contributor
Valentina Palanda
Valentina Palanda, Staff Writer
Valentina Palanda is a 14-year-old student from Miami attending MAST Academy. Palanda has been playing tennis every day after school for seven years and plans on joining the MAST tennis team. When Palanda is not playing tennis or at school, she likes watching TV shows, going out with friends, and relaxing by the pool. Following her mom’s footsteps, Palanda decided to attend MAST when her friend switched in the middle of the last school year. She heard all the positive reviews and decided to come see for herself. Compared to her old school, Palanda says, “MAST is so much cleaner and way more organized.” Palanda is interested in science and biology, however dislikes history. Overall, Palanda’s experience in MAST Academy has been positive as she likes all her teachers and finds the view amazing.
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