Florida's Coral Reefs Need Observant Friends Like YOU!

While localized, colony-specific coral bleaching and various coral diseases has been recorded in SE Florida for over 100 years, there are strong indications that coral bleaching and disease has increased in frequency and severity along the Florida Reef Tract since the 1980's, correlating with significant Coral Bleaching events in the Caribbean and coral reefs worldwide as oceans and seas around the globe increase in temperature in relation to modern Climate Change. Increasing public, media and scientific concern for the reef highlighted the need for a program to monitor bleaching before, during and after each incident to help improve scientific understanding. There are many questions about coral bleaching and disease out-breaks that must be answered in order to fully assess the environmental impact of these events. Where and when are the bleaching and diseases taking place? What species are more vulnerable? What is the duration and severity of the events? And finally, what is the recovery and resilience potential of the SE Florida coral reef ecosystem?


The SEAFAN BleachWatch Program was designed to help answer some of these questions by providing valuable information about the condition of SE Florida's coral reefs with the help of citizen scientists who help make critical observations and collect significant data on their recreational or work-related dives. The BleachWatch Program combines climate and sea surface temperature data with field observations on the condition of coral reefs from a trained observer network in order to detect the potential onset of mass bleaching and coral disease events. The environmental monitoring data will be combined with observer network reports to produce a comprehensive overview of current conditions in the region.  More info regarding the current coral disease outbreak along FL's reef tract.


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INTRODUCTORY BLEACHWATCH CLASSES

Introductory evening SEAFAN BleachWatch training classes run approx 3-hours (6-9p) and are open and free to the public with advance registration, walk-ins are welcomed if space permits. Those who have taken the class before are welcomed to return for a refresher and recent updates about the growing threats of coral bleaching and/or disease outbreaks in SE Florida. The purpose of the Bleachwatch classroom experience is to provide an overview about the BleachWatch Program and visual examples of various levels of coral bleaching and diseases divers may observe and possibly report back to SEAFAN on their own casual dives with dedicated materials provided. 

BleachWatch Training Classes are free and open to the public - Register for any of the following:


Monday, June 11, 2018, 6-9p (Palm Beach County)
Loggerhead Marinelife Center

14200 U.S. Highway 1 Juno Beach, FL 33408
Register ASAP: Kristi.Kerrigan@FloridaDEP.gov

Space for 50 people; ample parking. Complimentary refreshments will be provided



Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 6:30- 8:30p (Broward County)
Force-E Scuba Center Pompano Beach

1312 N Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Register ASAP: Kristi.Kerrigan@FloridaDEP.gov

Space for 20 people; ample parking. Complimentary refreshments will be provided



Wednesday, June 27, 2018, 6-9p (Broward County) 
NSU Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography

8000 N. Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004

(NSU Campus located at the end of Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park)

3rd Floor Auditorium
Register ASAP: Kristi.Kerrigan@FloridaDEP.gov

Space for 50 people; ample parking. Complimentary refreshments will be provided



Thursday, July 12, 2018, 6-9p (Miami-Dade County)
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149
Room: MSC 123
Register ASAP: Kristi.Kerrigan@FloridaDEP.gov

Space for 50 people; ample parking. Complimentary refreshments will be provided



NOTE:  BleachWatch classroom participants will receive a complimentary BleachWatch kit to help with making their own educated observations and recordings on personal recreational dives. We intend to provide BleachWatch classroom participants (over the age of 18 and SCUBA Certified) the opportunity to join an in-water field training dive in the late summer led by a certified BleachWatch instructor to enhance their classroom training with real-life corals experiencing bleaching and/or disease (subject to limited space and potential out-of-pocket costs).


Check out slideshows from our 2016 and 2017 BleachWatch In-Water Training Pilot Programs!​​


Interested in other ways to help protect/conserve Our Florida Reefs? Visit the Participation Page


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BECOME A BLEACHWATCH INSTRUCTOR - UNIQUE WORKSHOPS
Interested in taking your BleachWatch training and skills to the next level? Become a Certified BleachWatch Instructor! With the increase in bleaching episodes and the unprecedented coral disease outbreak, there is a greater need for citizen scientists to report their observations. This free instructor course includes a full-day in the classroom followed by a half-day in the field/water. Participants will acquire the skills and tools needed to train others to become part of the BleachWatch Observer Network. Upon completion of the course, each instructor is expected to teach at least one BleachWatch class per summer, with help of provided materials and guidance.


Saturday, June 30, 2018, 9a - 5p (Palm County)
Loggerhead Marinelife Center

14200 U.S. Highway 1 Juno Beach, FL 33408

Inquiries and Registration:

Kristi.Kerrigan@FloridaDEP.gov   T: 305-795-1204​

Please see Important Notes below before inquiring about registration



Saturday, July 7, 2018, 9a - 5p (Broward County)
Force-E Scuba Center Pompano Beach

1312 N Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Inquiries and Registration:
Kristi.Kerrigan@FloridaDEP.gov   T: 305-795-1204​
Please see Important Notes below before inquiring about registration


IMPORTANT NOTES REGARDING BLEACHWATCH INSTRUCTOR WORKSHOPS: Space is limited, advanced registration required. Knowledge of coral identification and coral condition is desired.  Must be over 18 years of age and SCUBA a certified SCUBA diver with significant diving experience. These unique BleachWatch instructor-training workshops also include a complimentary field training dive held soon after the class (we anticipate the next day, weather and seas permitting) that should be taken to complete the training and be qualified to become a Certified BleachWatch Instructor. Complimentary refreshments and lunch will be provided at the all-day workshops.

The Summer 2018 BLEACHWATCH Program Sponsors, Partners, & Founders:

CLASSROOM TRAINING AND IN-WATER FIELD COURSES

Interested in partnering with or sponsoring 2018 and/or future BleachWatch Trainings?
Please
Contact FOFR about options and opportunities!