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Underwater temperature on off-shore coral reefs of the Florida Keys, U.S.A.

March 11, 2022

The USGS Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project provides science that helps resource managers tasked with the stewardship of coral reef resources. Coral reef organisms are very sensitive to high and low water-temperature extremes. It is critical to precisely know water temperatures experienced by corals and associated plants and animals that live in the dynamic, nearshore environment to document thresholds in temperature tolerance. Here we provide underwater temperature data recorded every fifteen minutes since 2009 at seven off-shore coral reefs in the Florida Keys. From southwest to northeast, these sites are Garden Key (Dry Tortugas National Park), Pulaski Shoal West (Dry Tortugas National Park), Pulaski Shoal Light (Dry Tortugas National Park), Sombrero Reef (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, FKNMS), Crocker Reef (FKNMS), Molasses Reef (FKNMS), and Fowey Rocks (Biscayne National Park). Measurements were made at Sombrero Reef from July 2009 to August 2022, at Crocker Reef from June 2013 to August 2022, and at Molasses Reef from April 2009 to April 2013. Data collection continues at three sites in the Dry Tortugas National Park (Pulaski West, initiated December 2016, Garden Key, initiated May 2022, and Pulaski Light, initiated June 2009) and one site in Biscayne National Park (Fowey Rocks, initiated August 2009). Temperatures were recorded with Onset HOBO Water Temp Pro V2 (U22-001) data loggers in duplicate at each site. Loggers were attached to concrete blocks fixed to the reef with stainless-steel rods and epoxy at depths of 7 to 16 feet of seawater. Portions of the dataset included here were interpreted in conjunction with coral and/or algal calcification rates in publications including Kuffner and others (2020), and Lenz and others (2021). See the cross-reference section of the metadata for a complete list of publications.

Kuffner, I.B., Stathakopoulos, A., Toth, L.T., and Bartlett, L.A., 2020, Reestablishing a stepping-stone population of the threatened elkhorn coral Acropora palmata to aid regional recovery: Endangered Species Research, v. 43, p. 461-473,

Lenz, E.A., Bartlett, L.A., Stathakopoulos, A., and Kuffner, I.B., 2021, Physiological differences in bleaching response of the coral Porites astreoides along the Florida Keys reef tract during high-temperature stress: Frontiers in Marine Science, v. 8, art. 615795,

Note: This data release was versioned on February 3, 2023. Please see the Suggested Citation section for details.

Publication Year 2022
Title Underwater temperature on off-shore coral reefs of the Florida Keys, U.S.A.
DOI 10.5066/F71C1TZK
Authors Ilsa B Kuffner
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center