Florida Coral Reef, Florida, Florida Reef discussed on Florida Matters

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The mississippi and from other rivers in the area that caused fluctuating salinity and turbidity values but in in addition to that the corals when they're little larvae they actually need a hard bottom to settle onto so they don't settle onto sand and grow. They need like a rocky. Eh formation and the majority of our coastline tampa bay is actually sand with very little hard bottom for corals to settle on <hes> but it also gets bit too cold in the winter here for them to thrive so we actually do get a bit too cold <hes> bit to sandy <hes> a bit too turbine for corals to grow up the although some species do you can find stony corals here. They just don't form the large <hes> barrier reef structures that you find in southeast florida just isolated coral. He's here so erin what's happening with the coral reefs in florida. Unfortunately the florida reef track has been declining for or at least the last fifty years or so <hes> the initial significant decline started in the late seventies and early eighties and that was associated with a disease outbreak that scientists call white band disease. <hes> was a disease that affected most of the staghorn in the elk horn corals. Those are the major major branching species that covered most of the reef tract back in that time period. These two species are listed as threatened under the endangered species act after that particular outbreak we have seen subsequent global bleaching events that have had regional impacts in florida as well so that's associated with really warm water temperatures in summertime those water temperatures stressed the corals out and that symbiotic relationship that they have between the animal and that single cell breaks down in the corals appear bright white because their coloration with the algae has disappeared and the corals basically will starve to death if they don't require that l._g. Over time and so the combination really of those increasing water temperatures and subsequent disease outbreaks have continued unfortunately over time has caused the florida coral reef to go from about fifty percent living coral cover so if you went to a reef and and you dove there in the seventies about half of it would be covered by hard corals now you go to that same reef and often it's only covered by about four five percent so we have lost lost the astronomical amount of living coral cover and that is potentially affecting the function of that reef to act as it should into provide the ecosystem go system services that we all need roger. You were saying that you took a scuba diving trip down to the reef to actually look at what was happening. What did you see down there..

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