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Corals on a USGS calcification assessment station in Buck Island Reef National Monument

Detailed Description

Established in 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Coral Assessment Network (USGS-CAN) provides data on coral-growth (calcification) rates throughout the Florida Keys and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Pictured here is one of 30 stations located in Buck Island Reef National Monument. The data document seasonal and spatial patterns in coral growth that correlate with ocean conditions and are used to guide the management and restoration of coral species that have experienced population declines across the region. Shown here, on the left of the block, is the symmetrical brain coral, Pseudodiploria strigosa, and on the right side of the block, is the threatened elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. Both species are very important in the western Atlantic for creating the reef-crest habitat, the shallowest zone of the reef where waves break, that is essential for shoreline protection. 


Public Domain.