Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coral Succumbs to Deep Florida Freeze

Remember that unusual and unseasonable harsh winter freeze that made its way down to the Florida Keys earlier this winter? The same one that offered up some snow around Disney and even a flurry or two in Miami? The same one that caused lizards to fall from trees, and forced the citrus crop into anger-management? We blogged about it then and here we are again – this time to talk about the recent devastating assessment of coral reef in the Keys region.

Scientists are saying the cold weather completely killed much of the coral extending from Key Largo through the Dry Tortugas islands west of Key West. Divers assessing the coral last week were looking for bleaching – a tell-tale sign that the ocean life has been damaged, but what they found was even more devastating. The corals didn't even have a chance to bleach. They just went straight to dead. Divers from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are calling the situation an “ecosystem-wide mortality."