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USGS reports fast growth of nursery-grown coral at Dry Tortugas NP

Nursery-grown elkhorn coral transplanted into Dry Tortugas National Park survived and thrived, growing twice as fast as corals planted in other locations in the Florida Keys, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study published in Endangered Species Research.

USGS researchers are studying the growth and success of nursery-grown transplanted corals in the Florida Keys; research that might help this population of the threatened species rebound. Reefs there have experienced significant coral loss in recent decades from coral bleaching, disease and human-related disturbances. Elkhorn coral, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, is of special concern because it is the only species that builds the reef-crest zone—the part of the reef that dissipates waves, protecting shorelines and creating habitat for other species—in the tropical Atlantic.

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