The Largest Coral Reef In United States
The Florida Keys is no secret to most divers. It holds one of the largest coral reefs in the world and offers world class reef diving. Stretching 358 miles, the Florida Reef System holds 45 species of stony corals and 35 species of soft corals. Unfortunately, the reef is vanishing just like many of the other coral reefs on our planet. Rising ocean temperatures, larger hurricanes, and water quality issues are killing Florida’s Coral Reef.
To combat these challenges, there are many programs in place to restore and protect the Florida Reef. These programs are there to monitor the health and status of corals, as well as grow climate resilient coral species and transplant them onto the reef. Since the reef tract is so large, organizations like the Coral Restoration Foundation and agencies like the Coral Disease and Health Consortium have a hard time monitoring it all. That’s where you come in as a citizen scientist!
Citizen Scientist Coral App
As a citizen scientist, you help these organizations gather the data they need to protect and restore the Florida Reef System. One easy way to become a citizen scientist is by downloading the OkCoral app. The app allows you to submit your underwater pictures of corals and their condition to the Coral Restoration Foundation. Visit their website for more details.
Fish Count Survey
Another way you can contribute as a citizen scientist is by participating in the REEF Fish Survey. For this type of citizen science surveying, divers and snorkelers upload the number of fish and fish species they encountered. This helps scientists determine populations trends related to certain species of fish and marine life. Please visit their website for additional info.
Become a citizen scientist this year and contribute to the protection of the Florida Reef!