Coral Bleaching in the Keys

Causey, B. bcausey at
Fri Aug 8 11:31:49 EDT 1997

Greetings to Coral Listers:

I apologize up front for a widely broadcasted message, but the problem we have
observed may become wide spread in geographical scope.

While diving in the inshore waters of the Florida Keys over the past two days
(August 6 & 7), I have observed scattered bleaching of many species of head
corals.  Some of the colonies are partially bleached while others are
extremely mottled or blotched. Small colonies are often entirely bleached. 
The inshore water temperature is very warm..... and we will be reporting the
exact temperatures at a later posting.

Additionally, I just got off the telephone with Captain Bill Wickers, a past
member of our Sanctuary Advisory Council and a local native (Conch), who
reported extensive bleaching to large coral heads in the Gulf of Mexico area
of the Keys.  He was diving in Boca Grande Channel, between Boca Grande Key
and the Marquesas Keys, to the north or on the Gulf side  of the Keys in the
channel.  He observed large coral heads that were bleached to varying degrees.
 He said the small colonies were completely bleached and the larger colonies
varied from mottled to heavily bleached.  He said the problem is wide spread
in the area.  Captain Wickers is a reliable source of information and an
excellent source for personal observations.

I will keep you posted as new observations are recorded. Billy

Billy Causey, Sanctuary Superintendent
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
P.O. Box 500368
Marathon, FL 33050
305.743.2357 fax 

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