Coral Morphologic: Bad Year for Coral Bleaching & Sediment on Miami coral reefs

Coral Morphologic

12:09 PM (3 hours ago)

to coral-list
A combination of hot weather and sunny days in summer 2014 has resulted in
very a bad year for coral bleaching in South Florida. Recently, we surveyed
the natural reef (‘first reef tract’) just offshore Fisher Island here in
Miami. Unfortunately, the water has been kept exceptionally silty from the
Army Corps’ ongoing dredging of nearby Government Cut. The water is 10-15
feet deep here, and nearly all of the coral heads on the reef were
bleached. However, the most alarming thing we observed, was the prevalence
of black band disease infecting many of the brain corals. As evidenced from
the video, the dredge silt has settled on the corals, and seems a likely a
culprit in causing this disease outbreak. Prior to this summer, we have
never observed BBD as prevalently on Miami’s corals. Currently, the dredge
ships are operating just outside the mouth of Government Cut jetties,
resulting in plumes of silt that smother corals on the natural reefs in
every direction.

See the video of the bleached and diseased corals here:
http://coralmorphologic.com/b/2014/09/14/miami-coral-bleaching-report-september-7-2014

Fortunately, the water temperatures have steadily decreased since the start
of September, so we are hopeful that the bleached corals throughout South
Florida will begin to recover soon. However, up here in Miami with the Deep
Dredge ongoing, our corals may be too stressed out, diseased, or smothered
to survive. We will be monitoring the situation closely, and will continue
to update as necessary.

Cheers,
Colin Foord
Co-Founder Coral Morphologic
www.coralmorphologic.com
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