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300-Year-Old Coral May Elucidate Impacts of Freshwater Discharge on Coral Health

CSCOR-sponsored research produced a chronology of growth rate response from a 300-year-old coral that indicates previously undocumented impacts associated with past freshwater discharge on Florida near-shore coral communities. Such historical information can help optimize watershed management and minimize any adverse effects of Everglades restoration.

Scientists at the National Coral Reef Institute (NCRI) at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), collaborating with scientists from NOAA and Broward County, FL, obtained cores from the oldest known coral in southeast Florida. Assessment of the coral X-radiograph revealed a distinct region of high density and low growth rate (an indicator of coral stress) from approximately 1940 to 1970, which corresponds to a period of dramatically increased freshwater discharge from the Everglades.

NCRI researchers will be presenting results at the International Sclerochronology Conference in July 2007. The NCRI is a Congressionally-directed core component of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program.

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=1345

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