Identifying Coral Refuges in the Florida Reef Tract
   Robert van Woesik, Florida Institute of Technology

Abstract: Coral populations in the Florida reef tract have declined considerably in the last three decades because of multiple stressors, including extreme-temperature events. These stressors have led to coral bleaching, disease, and mortality, changing the coral composition of many reefs. Coral nurseries have been established to facilitate the recovery of the coral populations in the Florida reef tract, and attempts have been made to out-plant the nursery corals into the field. There were 13 coral nurseries in 2015. The survival rates of the outplanted corals, particularly the endangered Acropora cervicornis, which is the focus of most nurseries, have been mixed and dependent on out-planted locality. Disease-related coral mortality has been high. To optimize the survival of out-planted corals it is necessary to identify the optimal conditions and habitats for coral survival. It is also imperative to assess the relative risk of disease, both for the out-planted corals and wild coral populations. This study will examine optimal conditions for coral survival taking multi-approaches, including the examination of environmental conditions at the scale of 1 km, and flow conditions at the scale of meters.

Award Matching Funds Total
$203,796.00 $109,736.00 $313,532.00

Year Funded Starting Date Ending Date
2015 7/1/2016 12/31/2020

Location: Broward,Martin,Miami-Dade,Monroe,Palm Beach