Hot seawater killed most of cultivated coral in Florida Keys in setback for restoration effort

February 16, 2024 | Daily Mail via UVic News

In an effort to increase the population of endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals, researchers had placed them in the Florida Keys. Recently, was discovered that the high temperature seawater had killed more than three-quarters of the implanted coral.

Over the last year, the Florida Keys has experienced record high water temperatures, over 30 degrees Celsius, which managed to cause death in both the wild coral, and the newly implanted coral in the area. Researchers blame climate change, as well as El Nino for boosting the temperatures beyond what the coral can survive in.

Julia Baum, a coral biologist from the University of Victoria said in an email that this is a cause of concern for coral restoration as a whole. As the oceans temperatures continue to rise, it is becoming too warm for the coral to survive.

Dr. Julia Baum is the principle investigator at The Baum Lab, a lab dedicated to advancing the “understanding of the impacts of climate change in the ocean, and to inform and catalyze effective ocean conservation solutions.”

Dr. Baum is also a professor in the biology department at UVic, whose areas of expertise lies in marine science, environmental biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Julia Baum’s research on marine systems, climate, and coral reefs, you can check out her publications on UVic’s Institutional Repository, UVicSpace!