Research: Port of Miami corals reveal remarkable persistence in a challenging environment

The Port of Miami is a bustling waterway with large cruise and cargo ships, ferries, fishing vessels, and recreational boats. As it turns out, this waterway is also home to a resilient coral community.

According to a new study in Nature’s Scientific Reports by researchers with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), the University of Miami Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) and other partners, the corals within this urbanized environment have demonstrated great resilience against unfavorable conditions, such as poor water quality, excess nutrients, high temperatures, high salinity, and low pH levels. These corals have built strong and diverse communities on man-made substrates, such as seawalls and discarded objects.

“The Port of Miami is quite different from the places where we normally work. Everything is artificial, engineered, and constructed,” said Ian Enochs, research ecologist at NOAA AOML and lead author of the new study.  “Somehow, nature has found a way to persist even in the most unnatural of environments.”

NOAA Research News, 28 April 2023. Press release.

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