Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Collection methods and descriptions of coral cores extracted from massive corals in Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A.

November 29, 2016

Cores from living coral colonies were collected from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, U.S.A., to obtain skeletal records of past coral growth and allow geochemical reconstruction of environmental variables during the corals’ centuries-long lifespans. The samples were collected as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Coral Reef Ecosystems Studies project (http:/coastal.er.usgs.gov/crest) that provides science to assist resource managers tasked with the stewardship of coral reef resources. Three colonies each of the coral species Orbicella faveolata and Siderastrea siderea were collected in May 2012 using the methods described herein and as approved under National Park Service scientific collecting permit number DRTO-2012-SCI-0001 and are cataloged under accession number DRTO-353. These coral samples can be used to retroactively construct environmental parameters, including sea-surface temperature, by measuring the elemental composition of the coral skeleton. The cores described here, and others (see http://olga.er.usgs.gov/coreviewer/), can be requested, on loan, for scientific study. Photographic images for each coral in its ocean environment, the coral cores as curated and slabbed, and the X-rays of the slabs can be found in an associated U.S. Geological Survey Data Release.