Many of Cuba's coral reefs have thrived--with beautiful stands of elkhorn corals
that are listed as threatened in the U.S.--even though most reefs in the Caribbean have declined.
Now, he says, there are no Elkhorn corals
Fragments cut from coral trees are anchored on hard bottom at designated restoration sites to help jump-start the recovery of staghorn and elkhorn corals in the Keys.
The CRF spent about $383,000 last year growing, transplanting and monitoring staghorn and elkhorn corals. Mote Marine has spent about $100,000 annually in recent years on staghorn coral restoration work.
When we snorkel or scuba-dive on reefs, the amazing diversity of structures we see--the massive elkhorn corals
, brain corals, big platy corals--are all produced by tiny coral polyps.
Findings of a new study led by scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science revealed a new danger to the already threatened Caribbean and Florida reef Elkhorn corals
."Ocean acidification is widely viewed as an emerging threat to coral reefs," said Rosenstiel School graduate student Rebecca Albright.
The species--about 10% of the 62 varieties capable of forming reefs in the region--include staghorn and elkhorn corals
, which were once among the most prominent.
Ritchie's study of elkhorn corals
(Acropora palmata) from reefs in the Florida Keys, published in the Sept.
Patterson and Porter have discovered that white pox disease, which targets elkhorn corals
(Acropora palmata), is caused by the fecal bacterium Serratia marcescens.
Diseases and bleaching have decimated once-dominant species like staghorn and elkhorn corals
, longspine sea urchins, and sea fans.
"Staghorn and elkhorn corals
were once the oaks and maples of the Keys' coral forest," recalls Vaughan, who has been diving in the region since the 1960s.
Staghorn and elkhorn corals
, both classified as threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, are the primary reef-building corals in the Keys and the Caribbean.