[Coral-List] Coral killing continues in Florida

Bruno, John jbruno at unc.edu
Fri Sep 11 08:05:59 EDT 2015

Regarding Gene’s point about the absence of reef building corals living in the dredging sediment plumes in Miami: exaggeration about the lack of impacts isn’t any more helpful than overstating the case. I’ve never dove there, but the NOAA and UM scientists that do and have been monitoring the situation have reported at least dozens of colonies of A. cervicornis. I have snorkeled on the nearshore “reefs” just north of the Port Everglades inlet (where the Army Corps plans to begin dredging) and as our colleagues at NOVA and elsewhere in S Florida know, there are extensive thickets of A. cervicornis - the largest in the Caribbean that I’m aware of. I have some photos Zac Judd took posted here: http://theseamonster.net/2014/04/staghorn-coral-invades-fort-lauderdale/

Due to recent climate history these have been marginal reefs for a while, but as Bill Precht has pointed out, global warming is facilitating the northward expansion of Acropora and of active reef building. With a bit of common sense protection, perhaps these nearshore reefs could develop into substantial ecosystems, adjacent to a massive metropolitan area. Wouldn’t that be neat?

John Francis Bruno
Professor, Dept of Biology
UNC Chapel Hill

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