Children observing sealife at an aquarium.


Consortium of Aquarium Researchers & Educators

Florida Tech president John Nicklow and CEO of East Coast Zoological Foundation Keith Winsten.Florida Tech has partnered with the East Coast Zoological Foundation to lead a new university consortium for lagoon research at the foundation’s planned aquarium and conservation center at Port Canaveral.

The Consortium of Aquarium Researchers and Educators (CARE) will focus on raising awareness of estuarine environments and the threats they face, and creating improvements in the Indian River Lagoon and similar ecosystems.

To be based at the future aquarium’s Dr. Duane De Freese Coastal Conservation Hub, CARE will bring together multiple disciplines and diverse perspectives to work collaboratively to address critical ecosystem threats and to pursue solutions to help restore the Indian River Lagoon (IRL).

Austin Fox, assistant professor in ocean engineering and marine science and Florida Tech’s principal investigator in the research collaborations with the Foundation's Brevard Zoo campus, is helping to lead the CARE program.

“Home to the Indian River Lagoon Research Institute and a remarkable history of scholarship and research on the IRL, Florida Tech is uniquely qualified and honored to lead CARE. We are excited to work with the East Coast Zoological Foundation to develop CARE into an effective, community-driven educational and research initiative that also complements and deepens the amazing aquarium experience that will be all around it.”

John Nicklow, Florida Tech President

“We have a long history of working with Florida Tech through previous partnerships at Brevard Zoo, so including the future aquarium is a natural next step. Our combined strengths will amplify our efforts and create more advocates and environmental stewards. Together, we will make a difference for the Indian River Lagoon, marine life, sustainability, continued education and technological advancement.”

Keith Winsten, CEO of the East Coast Zoological Foundation.

“CARE is the right research partnership at the right time for the aquarium, the Indian River Lagoon and the higher education and research efforts led by Florida Tech. The world-class facilities envisioned at the aquarium will create a host of opportunities for universities and our partners to work together to restore and protect the IRL, an estuary of national significance.”

Duane De Freese, M.S. '78, Ph.D. '88, Executive Director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program