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Florida’s Coral Reef — Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease

Two years ago this month, a student at College of the Florida Keys was the first to report and photograph the spread of stony coral tissue loss disease off Key West, Florida at the Eastern Dry Rocks.  He was able to identify the disease because he was trained by Florida Sea Grant agents Shelly Krueger and Ana Zangroniz and completed the UF/IFAS Extension Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Underwater Observer Training course.  Stony coral tissue loss disease is devastating Florida’s Coral Reef and the Caribbean from the Bahamas to St. Lucia and affects more than half of the 45 species of stony corals that live in our region.  Thankfully, staghorn and elkhorn coral are not susceptible.

Maze coral with stony coral tissue
loss disease.
Photo by Ben Edmonds.

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