Coral Bleaching at Coffin's Patch Light - Florida Keys

George S. Garrett garettg at
Fri Aug 14 13:36:28 EDT 1998

Dear Listers:

I have been diving consistently for the past month approximately every other day at Coffins Patch Light in the Florida Keys.  This is a hard bottom area with very limited hard coral cover and considerable soft coral and sea fan growth.  Between July 26 and 8/11/98 I saw no noticeable bleaching of hard corals.  On 8/12/98 I saw minimal, but noticeable bleaching of Millepora colonies.  The reef is 6-7 meters deep and typical SSTs have been 87-89 degrees F.  During the same period I made a dive or two on the adjacent Coffins Patch Special Protected Area (SPA) and have seen no bleaching per se there, but haven't been there for a week of ten days.  The SPA is shallower with higher relief and has a greater assemblage of hard corals.

George Garrett
Director of Marine Resources
Monroe County, Florida Keys

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