Evaluation of Environmental Stressors to Coral in the Florida Keys
Coral decline has been observed worldwide including to reefs in Florida. Several global and local stressors have been implicated as contributors to the decline of coral populations The most pervasive and deleterious stressor is the global event of rising atmospheric CO2 levels which results in sea temperature changes and acidification. These global warming changes cause coral bleaching and ultimately coral death. Stony Coral Tissue Loss Diseases (SCTLD) is causing widespread devastation in the Florida Reef Tract. Expert coral biologists have identified the most important stressors to reefs in Florida – invasive species, unsustainable fishing practices, coastal development, untreated or poorly treated wastewater, urban and agricultural run-off, and tourism-related damage.