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Case Studies - Experimental Oculina Research Reserve Slide Show

 

Slide Show Narrative: Off of central Florida's Atlantic coast, submarine ridges are home to thickets of Oculina varicosa, also known as ivory tree coral. Slow-growing, branchlike, and delicate, healthy stands of this coral provide shelter for groupers, sea bass, red snapper, and beautiful invertebrates. By the early 1990s, however, much of the Oculina habitat was destroyed, mostly from bottom trawl fishing. Fish stocks were severely depleted and coral was reduced to rubble. Since 1994, the area has been designated as a reserve. Here bottom fishing is prohibited to protect standing coral that remains, and clusters of concrete "reef balls" have been deployed to help reestablish coral habitat. Scientists are encouraged by the Bank’s early signs of revival where several fish species have colonized these experimental structures.

Photo Credits:
John Reed, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
Chris Koenig, Florida State University
US Geological Survey
NOAA Ocean Explorer Web Site


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