Posted by: reefrescue | January 26, 2010

Cold water temperatures causing coral bleaching in South Florida and the Keys

Cold water temperatures causing coral bleaching at popular reefs in South Florida and the Keys

According to a report released this morning by the Nature Conservancy, cold water temperatures over the past few months are causing damage to reefs popular with recreational scuba divers in South Florida and the Florida Keys.

The report states: Sustained cold water temperatures in South Florida and the Florida Keys triggered severe coral bleaching and even coral death, alerting resource managers and prompting a coordinated assessment response from the science and scuba diving communities. Temperatures in some nearshore areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary dropped to 52 degrees Fahrenheit for several days — well below average for this time of year — with fatal results for some corals.

If cold water bleaching is observed on Palm Beach County reefs please send an email to Reef Rescue with location and if possilble, photos.


Nature Conservancy press release:

See news article:


  1. How exactly can cooler temperatures lead to coral bleaching? Do you think it might have something to do with an natural reaction of energy conservance, like my skin getting goosebumps when I’m chilled?

  2. From Nature Conservany press release: Coral bleaching occurs when a coral animal undergoes stress and loses its symbiotic algae (called zoxanthellae). Prolonged stress can result in coral death. Coral bleaching is most frequently associated with elevated water temperatures, but stress also occurs when water temperatures dip below the preferred 60-degree threshold.

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