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Coral Reefs at Risk
ESF Researchers Go Diving in the Florida Keys

“The decline in global coral reef conditions and the limited prospects of recovery of reefs leads us to ask: how much worse will it get and what can be done to mitigate it?” said Dr. Mark Teece, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) as he and two ESF graduate students embark on another research project in the Florida Keys May 25 – 31.

Dr. Mark Teece, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Biogeochemistry of Coral Reefs & Environmental Chemistry

Teece continued, “We need to know how corals will respond as water quality deteriorates with more coastal development and changes in oceanic chemistry including temperature and acidity associated with global climate change.”

Teece and graduate students Will Wurzel and Ben Estes will spend next week collecting and testing samples from a coral reef off Key Largo. Last year, samples were gathered from a coral reef off Long Key (visit the Image & Video Galleries).

The coral research has important implications for the future survival of reefs in Florida and in the world. Researchers need to document what is enhancing coral resistance to stress and how rapidly corals can adapt to change, which will be useful tools for the future design of marine protected areas. So far, the findings show that inshore patch reefs have some of the healthiest coral populations even though water quality is lower in these areas.

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