Unprecedented South Florida Coral Die-Off

Francis YupangcoBy Francis Yupangco 3 years ago
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coralimpacts-headerAnother bleak article highlighting the crucial situation our coral reefs are facing from bleaching and disease. Just last week, scientists announced that 93 percent of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia had been affected by bleaching. This latest finding of coral bleaching hits especially close to home for me, since I live in South Florida. Just in the past couple of months, coral reefs in South Florida are having an unprecedented die-off like never has been seen before. For example, reefs off the coast of Hollywood, Florida, as of September of 2015, had live coral tissue covering 90 percent of the reef. As of December of 2015, just three months later, the reef was almost completely dead. Scientists have found widespread disease in Broward and Miami Dade County in just a few months time. “We saw a variety of diseases across the different corals,” Brian Walker, a Nova Southeastern University research scientist said. “Some of the disease was recently active and had killed off a significant portion of the colony. It’s wiped out entire species from parts of the reef. They’re usually bleached white. You can see areas of just bare skeleton.” Corals from Key Biscayne to Fort Lauderdale were surveyed and it was found that about 2/3 of the corals were dead or reduced to half of their coral tissue. Scientists believe the widespread bleaching and disease is a combination of global warming, El Nino and local stresses affecting the area. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global bleaching is likely to last into 2017. Bleaching peaks from August to October, so scientists expect this year to continue this devastating trend. MORE

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  Corals, Science
Francis Yupangco
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 Francis Yupangco

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Francis is a marine biologist with an MBA and over 20 years of professional aquarium experience. Francis is the former Aquatic Development Manager at Hagen USA., makers of Fluval brand aquarium products. He co-stars on Nat Geo WILD's reality TV series Fish Tank Kings where he is the resident "Fish Geek" and was Director of Marketing at Living Color Aquariums. He is an avid explorer having visited over 45 countries and lived in 7. At 17, he was among the youngest aquarists ever hired by the Vancouver Aquarium, where he worked for 7 years. His aquatic biology experience ranges from larval fish rearing to the design, construction and operational management of renowned public aquariums around the world. Francis is currently head of marketing at the world's largest vertically integrated fish farming company.

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