Cry of the Water
GCRA Joint Report

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Reef Protection in Broward County, Florida

Cry of the Water
Global Coral Reef Alliance


Large field of staghorn coral from above, showing extent of coal and several layers of different fish populations around it.  Photo: Karen Lane


Staghorn bush from below, showing a small part of the dense schools of grunts and other fish that shelter in them.  Photo: Karen Lane


Edge of staghorn field and large head coral, with a highly experienced coral reef researcher showing typical first response (Dr. James W. Porter of University of Georgia, a leader of the Environmental Protection Agency team studying long term change of Florida Keys coral reefs from photographic transects).  His written message: "this place is just amazing".
Photo: Karen Lane


Healthy ancient coral, about 10 feet across, on top of shallow reef, with numerous fish swimming around. Photo: Dan Clark


Ancient round coral, showing many pale spots on sides indicating the start of coral bleaching, and some recovering parrot fish bite marks on top.
Photo: Jim Stillwell















           Ancient pillar coral on top of shallow reef.  Photo: Dan Clark

Large Numbers of coral heads over a hundred years old near the outer edge of the shallow reef.  Photo: Jim Stilwell


 Coral head with juvenile angelfish, surgeonfish, and wrasses on top of hardground.  The red and green algae on the hard bottom are primarily sand-producing algae typical of low nutrient clean waters.  THey are replaced by no sand-producing weeds when water quality deteriorates. 
Photo: Stephanie Clark


Squirrelfish resting between staghorn bushes.  Note low abundance of algae on hard bottom and several young corals.  Photo: Dan Clark


Turtle resting on bottom after grazing algae.  Photo: Dan Clark


Growing worm reef off Dania Beach that would be buried by the proposed dredge-fill. The narrow parallel dark bands are the  worm tubes.   Larger irregular holes are the entrance of tubes of large clams that bore into the worm reef structure.  Once worms stop cementing sand grains together into tubes forming the reef, erosion will quickly result in its breakdown.  Photo: Dan Clark


Many large dead coral heads off previously dredge-filled beaches.  The left foreground on the front and second dead corals are being overgrown by golden-colored Palythoa caribbeorum. a rubber-mat-like encrusting organism that is not a reef builder.  Remaining dead coral surfaces are covered with algal turf lawns that are intensively grazed by surgeonfish.  A large reddish-purple alga is growing on the soft coral.  Note the absence of the young hard corals.
Photo: Dan Clark


Coral head several hundred years old being overgrown and killed by Palythoa caribbeorum.  Note high levels of suspended particulate material in this area.  Photo: Dan Clark


Large coral head that is being attacked and killed by a boring sponge. The orange area below the hand is the sponge tissue, which is surrounded by a dead zone.  Although the sponge now only occupies a small part of the coral, it will quickly excavate passages throughout the coral head to attack the coral tissue from underneath.  In some areas many large corals have been killed by sponges or are under attack.  The riddled-out coral skeleton eventually collapses in storm waves.  The finger points to an unusual growth that has a much lighter color and much faster growth then the rest of the coral.
Photo: Dan Clark


Coral dying from disease, possibly white plague. Photo: Dan Clark


Recently killed white patches on top of 10 foot diameter coral.  These white patches were full of sediment that was fanned away by hand, showing recently dead coral tissue.  The dead patch at right is older, and the surface has been blackened by toxic hydrogen sulfide gas generated in the mud from bacterial decomposition of coral tissue and detrital organic matter, which has etched the coral surface in layers.  Had such events happened frequently in the past, the shape of the entire colony would have been very different.  Photo: Dan Clark


Top of large coral head being killed by Black Band disease.  The greenish-brown area on the top has been overgrown by fuzzy algae, but the white ring has died too recently to have been overgrown, probably no more tan days to a week before.  Photo: Dan Clark


Large coral head that is being attacked by Black Bank disease from four places.  The white rimes are very recently dead coral.  The greenish-brown areas in the centers of the dead patches have been overgrown by filamentous algae.  At top right is a large dead patch that is no longer active, which probably died last year, went dormant in the winter, and reactivated when the water warmed.  Photo: Dan Clark


Rapidly advancing Black Bank disease.  The white areas at top are exposed skeleton which has recently died, the brown area at the bottom is healthy tissue.
The irregular purple-black band across the middle is the black band consortium of bacteria and cyanobacteria that is attacking coral tissue. 
Photo: Edrianna Stilwell


Slowly advancing Black Band disease.  In contrast with the previous photograph, the black band is much narrower, the white ring of dead coral skeleton is narrower, and there is clear overgrowth by greenish-brown algae.  Photo: Edrianna Stilwell


Staghorn coral with White Band disease.  The narrow white ring between healthy tissue and dead algae overgrown skeleton in the very center of the photograph is the typical slow progression of the disease.  All other dead areas have very broad recently dead areas that appear to be spreading rapidly.  This is thought to be a different form of White Band disease. Photo: Dan Clark


Staghorn bush with rapidly progressing type White Band disease.  Some are dying from the bases, some from the tips, and some in the middle.
Photo: Dan Clark


White plague rapidly killing coral from the edge.  Photo: Edrianna Stilwell


Abnormally swollen tissue of ancient pillar coral that appears to be disease.  Photo: Dan Clark

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