USGS Scientists collect new coral-core archives from the reefs off southeast Florida

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Lauren Toth (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be leading an expedition to the nearshore coral reefs of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in Florida to collect new coral-core archives for paleoclimate studies.

Dr. Lauren Toth (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be leading an expedition to the nearshore coral reefs of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in Florida to collect new coral-core archives for paleoclimate studies. The skeletons of the long-lived, reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata can provide valuable archives of both long-term changes in coral growth and past climate variability; however, obtaining records from this coral on modern reefs has been complicated by declines in its population. Recently, researchers at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) discovered more than 100 large O. favolata colonies living in the nearshore environments off Broward and Miami-Dade Counties and researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) have documented numerous large, 3000-yr old O. faveolata colonies in northern Broward County. Toth and Anastasios Stathakopoulos (SPCMSC Oceanographer) have developed a collaboration with the researchers at NSU and FAU to use the newly-discovered corals to better understand the environmental history of southeast Florida. In mid-July, Toth, Stathakopoulos, Nathan Smiley (South-Eastern Region Dive Safety Officer), Hunter Wilcox (CNT contractor at SPCMSC), and Alex Modys (Ph.D. student at FAU) will carry-out a research expedition to collect new coral cores from O. faveolata colonies throughout the region. These cores will be analyzed by researchers at SPCMSC to reconstruct long-term history of coral growth and environmental variability in southeast Florida.

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