Our unique facility includes a large aquatics lab, coral testing and imaging room, a dry/fabrication lab, and a chemistry/molecular biology lab, along with offices for staff and students. The main aquatics lab is comprised of three systems encompassing over 3000 gallons in capacity. A large refugia tank for algae culturing helps with water filtration and the production of natural plankton for feeding the corals.
Dr. Gerdes holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX and did his postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. He has been issued 27 US patents related to diagnostic technologies for pathology, automation, and image analysis, as well as in the area of human forensics. He has been an adjunct professor at SUNY Albany since 2008 in the Department of Biological Sciences where he teaches and mentors student research interns.
Dr. Gerdes has been growing corals for over 25 years and is passionate about aquaculture and reef conservation as a Jamaican born American.
He is currently focusing his efforts on uses of aquacultured corals for developing biomedical applications and chemical fingerprinting studies for coral health and disease. Additional work is directly aimed at improving restoration efforts with improved approaches for biofouling mitigation in nurseries and out-plant sites.
Eric is a graduate of Rice University with 45 years and thousands of hours of diving experience. He became world renowned in the husbandry of corals, authoring numerous books, book chapters, and presenting hundreds of articles and presentations worldwide on the subject, and pioneering many aspects of both asexual and sexual propagation of corals.
He was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship where he investigated apoptosis in coral disease at the University of Houston under Gerard Wellington, a pioneer of coral bleaching using coral coring around the world. He was a founding member of SECORE, a multinational group pioneering sexual gamete collection, fertilization and settlement to aid recruitment in wild corals. Eric also helped found a coral reef conservation and education non-profit,
the Reef Stewardship Foundation and initiated the model systems for living corals for the Coral Health and Disease Consortium.
Working with Andrew Bruckner for the non-profit NGO, Coral Reef CPR, they restored unique and critical reef habitat, including building a snorkel trail and an entire reef structure around an underwater restaurant at several location in The Maldives. He has worked throughout the Caribbean and Pacific, leading or a part of joint research projects on coral monitoring, restoration, reproduction, disease, assessment and climate change in Puerto Rico, the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Dominica, the Florida Keys, Grand Cayman, Easter Island, Fiji, Mustique, Belize, Indonesia, and The Maldives.
He is currently working as our Senior Coral Biologist at CapitalCorals where he continues his work in advancing coral husbandry, utilizing corals in various research and education capacities and is continuing to work with numerous reef restoration efforts.
You can find many of Eric’s publications through Google Scholar.
Gary Melius, a seasoned veteran of the deep blue, assumes the pivotal roles of Dive Master and Safety Officer at CapitalCorals R&R. With over 50 years of combined recreational and commercial diving experience, Gary’s passion for the underwater world is matched only by his commitment to safety and excellence.
Stephen Sheedy, serving as the Lead Technician at CapitaCorals since 2022, brings a wealth of expertise to the organization. His journey began at Western Kentucky University, where he explored various engineering departments, fueled by a harmonious blend of passion for technology and reverence for nature.
After many years in the hospitality industry, Stephen’s commitment to conservation led him to CapitalCorals, where he seamlessly integrates his dual passions into tangible solutions. His primary focus lies in safeguarding the remnants of reefs worldwide. When not immersed in designing and constructing innovative systems, Stephen dedicates time to staying abreast of the latest discoveries or indulging in outdoor pursuits like snowboarding and diving.