Elkhorn Coral Colonies
USGS studies the growth rates of corals at a network of coral growth assessment stations throughout Buck Island National Monument in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. These data provide resource managers with information needed to understand how coral populations are doing in the park. This work will be used by partners at the National Park Service to prioritize areas for increased protection and restoration efforts.
Once the experiments are completed, USGS plants the corals on the reef so they can continue to grow. Here, a small colony of outplanted elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is seen in the foreground with a large, dead colony seen in the background. This experiment showed that outplanting efforts in Buck Island National Monument could be feasible for reef restoration.