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Elkhorn Coral

Detailed Description

The top panel shows the threatened elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) alive and performing the critical ecosystem service of building the reef crest that protects shorelines during storms. The lower panel shows a dead and quickly eroding skeleton of Elkhorn Coral. Dead corals are reduced to sand by the actions of waves, grazing fishes, and internally boring sponges. The potential for restoration of Elkhorn populations to reestablish shoreline protection is a current research focus of the USGS.


Public Domain.