News / Company News / Here is an update from our intern at CRF (07/11/16)

Here is an update from our intern at CRF

Here is an update from our intern from CRF

Alex Neufeld - QM Intern at CRF

In the last two weeks in June weve planted over 800 corals in Marathon, consisting mostly of genetic strains that originated in those areas. These sites, while abundant in sponges and bouldering corals, are noticeably lacking in branching coral (staghorn and elkhorn) populations. Historically, the colonies in these areas were as robust as colonies further to the north, but were also genetically distinct because they were acclimated to the typically warmer southern waters. But with the ability to fight the heat came an apparent inability to fight the cold.

In the winter of 2010 to 2011, the Florida Keys experienced the most dramatic cold snap in recent history. As a result, the nearly all elkhorn and staghorn corals south of Marathon bleached and died, resulting in immediate population decline. Fortunately, CRF had already been collecting corals in Marathon and Key West for several years and had stockpiled these southern strains in our nurseries, where they managed to survive the winter.

Today, CRFs Marathon and Key West corals are some of the only remnants of the Acroporid corals that once existed in those parts of the Keys. With this acknowledgement comes the realization that every colony we now plant on those sites represents a unique step in the process of bringing those reefs back to their historic levels of diversity. Obviously this doesnt make the drive to Marathon or Key West any quicker, but it sure gives me a greater appreciation for the work were doing there.

Photo by Alex Neufeld