[Coral-List] Cold-water stresses on the Florida reef tract

Lew Gramer lew.gramer at noaa.gov
Thu Jan 14 15:22:29 EST 2010

Extreme cold temperatures have been observed in near-shore waters of the
Florida Keys by reef monitoring stations of the SEAKEYS/C-MAN network. NOAA's
Coral Health and Monitoring Program via the Integrated Coral Observing Network
(ICON: _http://ecoforecast.coral.noaa.gov_) project monitors near real-time
data from these stations for conditions conducive to coral bleaching and other
ecological impacts.  Recent reports have surfaced among scientists, resource
managers, and the media of large-scale, multi-species fish kills that have
been primarily limited to shallow-water environments in Florida and Biscayne Bay.

Coral mortality has been reported from south Florida when water temperatures
previously declined to 14 degrees Celsius, or below (Porter et al. 1982).
While temperatures on offshore reef environments have been > 17-18 deg C
(likely due to oceanic influence from the Florida Current), shallow-water and
nearshore environments have fallen well below 14 deg C (e.g., 10-11 deg C near
Long Key).  It is expected that there will be some cold-water bleaching and
potential for mortality in shallow-water corals and other reef organisms. If
coral-list readers collect observations of bleaching or other cold-related
stresses on reef organisms, please contact us at NOAA AOML in Miami.

Sincerely yours,

Lew Gramer, Jim Hendee, Derek Manzello
NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Porter JW, Battey JF, Smith GJ (1982) Perturbation and change in coral reef
communities. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 79:1678-1681

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