According to the latest research, 70% of Florida’s coral reefs are eroding and experiencing a net loss of reef habitat. The study, conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists through the University of Miami Rosenstiel’s NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies, provides new details on the state of the reef. Florida’s famous coral reefs.
“This research helps us better understand coral reefs along Florida’s coral reefs that are vulnerable to habitat loss and require management and restoration efforts to prevent further From habitat loss, on the contrary, we have also identified corals that may be potential informants for coral reef development and are likely to persist into the future.”
Researchers analyzed benthic ecology, a compilation of all seafloor-dwelling organisms, and parrotfish data from 723 coral reef sites in three biogeographic regions across the state’s reef region to calculate each site’s carbonate budget. Dry Tortugas to St. Lucie Inlet A positive carbonate budget indicates that the reef is growing over time, while a negative carbonate budget indicates that the reef is losing its structure.
The data, from NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program and the National Geodetic Surveys, were used to calculate carbonate production and carbonate erosion throughout South Florida. The primary drivers of carbonate budgets along Florida’s coral tracts are the amount of coral cover and parrotfish biomass. 506 sites lose coral reef habitats on an annual basis.
Florida Reef is the only living barrier reef in the continental United States and the third largest coral reef system in the world.
The biggest drivers of coral loss in Florida over the past decade include bleaching events, ship grounding, and diseases, such as stony coral tissue loss disease discovered in 2014 that continues to decimate reefs in Florida and the Caribbean.
According to NOAA, Florida’s coral reefs support 70,000 jobs and generate about $8.5 billion in sales and income annually. Healthy coral reefs also protect coasts from floods and storm surges.