National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research
University of Miami - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149




Integrated Florida Reef Tract

There are several stresses potentially contributing to the current decline of Florida and Caribbean coral reefs. These include, but are not limited to: high nutrient and sediment loading; unsustainable rates of extraction of coral, fish and other reef organisms; climate change; and, physical damage from boats, diving and destructive fishing practices. One or a combination of the above stresses may be contributing to the observed phase-shift on these reefs from coral to macroalgal dominance. This ecological shift threatens a resource that contributes over a billion dollars each year to South Florida’s economy alone.

NCORE’s initial research effort was focused on elucidating the biogeochemical and trophodynamic processes driving the nutrient cycles of the Florida reef tract. That work was later integrated with a physical oceanographic study to quantify the upwelling nutrient flux to the Florida Keys coral reefs and to understand the controlling physical processes, using an observational and numerical approach model. NCORE's interdisciplinary and simultaneous examination of these processes will significantly improve the understanding of the causes of, and potentially inform management options to reverse, the increased algal overgrowth of Florida’s coral reefs.


1.1  Physical Oceanographic Studies
Impact of Nutrients on Reefs in the Florida Reef Tract
1.3  Nutrient Dynamics, Algal Community Structure, and Algal Production
 Role of Herbivorous Fishes on the Trophodynamics of the Florida Reef Tract