The Southeast Florida Action Network (SEAFAN) received numerous reports from citizens, scientists, and agency staff concerning the loss of tissue from multiple stony coral species, beginning in the fall of 2015 as the corals were recovering from a severe bleaching event the previous summer, and continuing into 2016. A study to comprehensively understand the extent, severity, and contributions of diverse environmental factors that may have led to this event was initiated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coral Reef Conservation Program. Many sources of data about the marine environment and biota in the northern Florida Reef Tract (north of Biscayne National Park to St. Lucie Inlet) were identified by staff and members of the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative’s Technical Advisory Committee in April 2016. The period to be examined included the years 2012‒2013 (when coral disease reports were minimal) and 2014‒2015 (peak reporting years). Research assistants contacted data owners (agencies, scientists, nongovernmental organizations) and obtained datasets. Information about the data (metadata) was entered into a spreadsheet and data files were cataloged and archived for future access. In the future, multiple analyses may be performed by statisticians and epidemiologists to examine the conditions that might have led to the disease outbreak and to identify data gaps and monitoring needs that can improve the conservation of these valuable coral reefs.
July 18, 2019 - 2:38pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.