Enjoy the Florida Keys While Protecting the Reef

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary supports one of the most diverse assemblages of underwater plants and animals in North America. Here are simple ways you can have a fantastic time enjoying the Florida Keys while still Protecting the Reef. Protecting the Reef – Keep your distance. Maintaining a safe distance from corals and other organisms … Read more

Florida’s Staghorn Coral Makes Surprising Return

A surprise discovery along the south Florida coast has revealed dense thickets of a species of Staghorn coral thought to be disappearing from the region’s reefs. More than 38 acres of staghorn coral have been found in patches on the reefs from northern Miami-Dade County to northern Broward County, in what scientists call a rare … Read more

Middle Florida Keys Suggestions For Your Bucket List

The Middle Florida Keys are an often overlooked destination. Lying between the Upper Florida Keys where you will find the Diving & Fishing Capitals of Key Largo and Islamorada and the Lower Florida Keys with Big Pine Key’s Key Deer and world famous Key West, the Middle Florida Keys is sometimes referred to as the Heart … Read more

Upper Florida Keys Suggestions For Your Bucket List

Do you know how many parks there are in the Upper Florida Keys? Me neither. Between the City Parks: Islamorada’s Founders Park and Anne’s Beach, Monroe County Parks: Harry Harris, Florida State Parks: John Pennekamp and Lignumvitae and the National Parks-Refuges-Sanctuaries: Everglades, Crocodile Lake and the all encompassing Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, you are … Read more

Coral Bleaching Puts Coral Diversity at Risk

There have been several recent reports about major events of coral bleaching. Coral reacts to the stress of warmer water by expelling zooxanthellae, the symbiotic photosynthetic algae responsible for nutrient cycling within the coral and the coral’s color. The coral provides algae with a protected environment and the compounds the algae need for photosynthesis (the … Read more

Scientists Connect the Reefs of Pulley Ridge to Florida Keys

This week, a team of university, state, and federal scientists is exploring a little known deep reef, Pulley Ridge, where spectacular plate coral colonies blanket the seafloor and red groupers actually help create habitat. Scientists believe this ecosystem, which lies 33 miles northwest of the western most boundary of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, … Read more

Giant Barrel Sponges Increasing on Florida Keys Reefs

Between 2000 and 2012, the giant barrel sponge, Xestospongia muta — which can grow to over a meter tall and wide — covered increasing territory on two reefs off Florida’s Key Largo. The number of sponges per square meter increased on both reefs, on one by an average of 122 percent, researchers report in an … Read more

Sanctuary Reef Exhibit Comes to Islamorada

  Sanctuary Reef, a unique traveling exhibit that gives a shrimp’s eye view of an oversized coral reef, is now on display at Keys History & Discovery Center in Islamorada, through Feb. 28, 2016. This interactive display developed by Mote Marine Laboratory brings the ocean’s coral reefs and vital scientific research to life through hands-on … Read more

Experts Look to See if Parrotfish Harm or Help Corals

Jacksonville University researchers have embarked on a study of critical importance to scientists rearing and out-planting coral on the Florida Keys reef. Mote Marine Laboratory, the Coral Restoration Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have spent millions of dollars rearing and out-planting coral on the Keys reef for nearly … Read more

Coral park coming to Fort Zachary Taylor

Mote Marine Laboratory is expanding its coral restoration efforts so that those who can’t make the 3 to 6 mile boat trek to the reef can see coral and the marine life it supports. Mote has partnered with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to bring 5,500 nursery-raised … Read more

Mote Scientists Grow Coral Faster in the Florida Keys

Mote scientists at the Key West laboratory have discovered a faster way to grow coral. By Randi Nissenbaum, Reporter Coral is a vital part of the oceans eco system. Without it most marine life could not survive. That’s why Mote Marine scientists have been working hard to preserve the fragile marine life.Just a few years ago, … Read more