Recent studies by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration have revealed that climate change is causing a threat to the coral reefs in Florida that could affect them much earlier than originally considered possible. In fact, the research is showing that the reefs could be destroyed by 2020. The study discussed how warmer water caused by climate changes can cause coral bleaching, which can kill both corals and sea living near the coral reefs. The study specifically mentioned Florida’s Dry Tortugas, which is a reef area in the Florida Keys.
The evidence was gathered through the usage of a special supercomputer to evaluate information on the temperature of the ocean water in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean area. The evidence from the data verified that the coral reefs are in danger due to coral bleaching.
This discovery doesn’t just affect scuba divers who travel to Florida in the hopes of viewing Florida’s coral reefs, say the scientists from the University of Miami who participated in the study. They say that corals are like the warning system of the oceans, and if they are dying, then the rest of the ocean is sure to follow.
Besides the coral bleaching problems within Florida’s coral reefs, the ocean and the coral reefs are under threat from things like coastal runoff, overfishing, acidification, and anchor damage. Plus, both too cold and too warm waters can kill corals. Currently, according to some of the divers who travel to the Dry Tortugas coral reefs area, the reefs are looking healthy, as they are in very deep water and there are very strong currents there, both of which help to protect Florida’s coral reefs and reefs in general. However, the evidence gathered recently by divers last year showed that there has been coral bleaching in other sections of the Florida Keys.
There has been documented damage to corals in Biscayne Bay near Key Largo, as well as in the Middle Keys, which is south of the Dry Tortugas area. Scientists say that Florida’s coral reefs could rebound from coral bleaching, but only if the warmer waters cool off so the algae they eat comes back.
One way that has been considered as a method to possible help save the endangered coral reefs is through grafting other kinds of corals to the reefs that have been found to be able to survive hostile ocean conditions. The grafted pieces of coral would grow into the existing coral reefs and help them adapt and survive. Therefore, the scientists want to travel to find these types of corals and bring them back to the Florida Keys region.
These and other things are being considered as ways to help the conservation programs already underway to better protect Florida’s coral reefs in the Florida Key like those in the Dry Tortugas area. The study hopes to get more people who travel to the area to become aware of the problems of climate change and the ways it can cause coral bleaching and other coral damage.
For more ocean, save the ocean reminders, check out this relaxing summer-time ocean in beautiful Croatia: