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Rare coral forest discovered off South Florida coast

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A surprise discovery along the South Florida coast has revealed dense thickets of a species of coral thought to be disappearing from the region’s reefs. More than 38 acres of staghorn coral has been found in patches on the reefs from northern Miami­-Dade to northern Broward counties, in what scientists call a rare piece of good news for a species that has sustained severe declines, largely due to disease.

“This is a huge win for Florida’s corals,” said Joanna Walczak, southeast regional administrator for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida coastal office.

Staghorn coral, which extends delicate branches up from the ocean floor, is among the most important coral species for its ability to build reefs, creating habitat for fish and other marine creatures and providing a natural wave­break that protects the coast.

Read more about this in the Sun Sentinel



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