First study to assess mangrove-coral habitat in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary published

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The results of the study titled “Identifying Mangrove-Coral Habitats in the Florida Keys” will be published in the open-access journal PeerJ.

A knobby coral clings to two mangrove prop roots in cloudy water

A Porites porites coral clings to mangrove prop roots in a mangrove-coral habitat in the Florida Keys. These mangrove-coral habitats may be climate refugia for corals and could be included in ecosystem management plans and considered for their applications in coral restoration, for example, as a source of adapted genetic resources, places to support growth and acclimation of coral outplants, or natural laboratories to test survival of different genotypes. (Credit: Ryan Moyer, Ph.D., Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Photo courtesy of Ryan Moyer)

This study used satellite imagery and manual ground-truthing surveys to search for mangrove-coral habitats in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and then collected basic environmental parameters (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pHNBS, turbidity) at identified sites in the Upper and Lower Florida Keys. 

Coral reefs are degrading due to many synergistic stressors. Recently there have been a number of global reports of corals occupying mangrove habitats that provide a supportive environment or refugium for corals, sheltering them by reducing stressors such as oxidative light stress and low pH. This was the first study to search for mangrove-coral habitats in the Florida Keys.  Authors on the study are Christina A. Kellogg (SPCMSC Research Microbiologist), Kimberly K. Yates (SPCMSC Research Oceanographer), Ryan P. Moyer and Mary Jacobsen (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation/Florida Fish & Wildlife Research Institute). 

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Date published: October 5, 2018
Status: Active

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