Key Largo, Florida Keys — More than 400 marine scientists and global experts on coral reefs are gathered in the Florida Keys to find ways to preserve and restore coral reefs around the world.
The world’s first Reef Futures conference, held this week at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, is attracting top global experts on latest techniques for coral reef restoration.
Scientists from about 40 countries are bringing awareness to the plight of dying coral reefs and on ways to save and restore fragile underwater reef ecosystems.
The Florida Keys are home to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the continental United States’ only barrier coral reef.
“This conference is an incredible opportunity for us in the Florida Keys to bring together experts from around the world who are all trying to address a shared problem, and that is threats to our reefs,” said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
“Reefs around the world face threats from warming water temperatures, from water quality issues, from direct impacts, from overfishing, so all around the world we face a lot of the same problems,” Fangman said.
Marine scientists are discussing how immediate and aggressive action on climate change is needed for long-term survival of all reefs — and how carbon already released into the atmosphere will continue to warm ocean waters.
Across the globe, warmer ocean waters continue to challenge coral ecosystems. Interventions at local levels — such as replanting reefs with resilient and reproductively-viable corals — are needed, global experts said.