Florida’s reefs cover the region between Dry Tortugas and Fowey Rocks in Miami, paralleling keys for three hundred and fifty six kilometers. Most of the reef tracts are found within the boundaries of the sanctuary a part from the northern cover.
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Additionally, several types of reefs occur mostly at the shore while others are found ten kilometers away. It is the most wide spread reef tract in North America and the third largest in the world (National Marine Sanctuaries, 2011).
According to research, there are two coral species, sixty three of taxa corals and forty two species of otocorals. This essay addresses some of the disturbances which have been experienced in the coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary together with measures which have been implemented to salvage the ecosystem.
Coral reefs are mainly threatened by human activities around the world. Due to ever-increasing human population, coral reefs can be affected in countless ways. Some of these ways include but not limited to urbanization and agriculture which increases sedimentation, polluted runoffs and nutrient inputs.
Emissions from industries and automobile engines further increase green house effect and leakage of waste products in water (National Geographic, 2011). Harvesting of resources and overfishing have also been identified as ways in which coral reefs in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are affected.
Additionally, huge vessel groundings have caused significant impact on coral reefs in the sanctuary. For instance, nineteen acres of coral reefs were destroyed between 1984 and 1997 by large ships which were over two hundred feet long (National Marine Sanctuaries, 2011).
Huge ships cause groundings which affect the health of corals plus other organisms surviving in the ecosystem. Moreover, sediments and nutrient pollution from farming and coastal development smoother corals, block sunlight and block settling of larval.
Discharges and nutrient-rich runoffs promote the growth if algal blooms and other competitors (Wadlow, 2011). These equivalently block sunlight and affect normal coral growth and reproduction. All these have weakened corals and created an environment which exposes corals to pathogens and diseases in the Florida Keys (National Geographic, 2011).
Coral reefs in the Florida Keys have also suffered due to water diversion in the Southern part of Florida. This is because of the connection of the sanctuary with Florida Bay.
The diversion has contributed to the growth of planktons, death of fish and sea grass die-offs. Overfishing has equally caused drifts in fish sizes, their abundance and overall composition within the ecosystem (National Marine Sanctuaries, 2011).
Due to the devastating nature of the ecosystem, there have been recovery efforts from the government and the surrounding community in recent years. Firstly, radar beacons have been installed which help vessels to locate paths relative to the position of coral reefs (Prosea, 2005).
This has seen access to some regions by sea vessels denied. Similarly, long tanks and vessels measuring more than fifty meters have been restricted from certain coverage of the ecosystem (National Marine Sanctuaries, 2011). Fishing is currently regulated by enforcement of legislation which prohibits overfishing and promotes safe fishing methods.
It is important to note that the recovery of coral reefs of Florida Keys was primarily led by human intervention through plans and strategies. As mentioned above, legislation and restrictions have played imperative roles in saving these reefs.
Other intervention measures included public awareness through education and research monitoring of the progress of the coral reefs (Prosea, 2005).
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The approach taken in saving the Florida Keys reefs was the most appropriate and workable in saving this particular ecosystem. This is due to the fact that the proposed measures were aimed at protecting the ecosystem from threats like improper boating, pollution and overfishing (Prosea, 2005).
National Geographic. (2011). Impact of Climate Change on Coral Reefs. National Geographic. Web.
National Marine Sanctuaries. (2011). Ecosystems: Coral Reefs. National Marine Sanctuaries. Web.
Prosea. (2005). Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary Strategy for Stewardship. Professional Shipwreck Explorers Association. Web.
Wadlow, K. (2011). New study: Keys marine ecosystem faces struggles. KeysNet. Web.