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 FL coral reefs?
The FDEP SEAFAN BleachWatch Program was designed to help answer some of these questions by providing valuable information about the condition of SE FL's coral reefs, with the help of citizen scientists who can 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 is combined with observer reports to produce a comprehensive overview of regional current conditions.
Introductory SEAFAN BleachWatch training classes hosted by the FDEP Coral Program run approximately 2-hrsand are typically open/free to the public with registration - walk-ins may be OK depending on location.
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 disease that trained divers may observe and report back to SEAFAN.net on their own dives, with the help of dedicated and supplied materials. Classes held by volunteer instructors may be by invitation or otherwise not public.
Upcoming BleachWatch Classrooms and/or In-Water Trainings
Important Note: Invitation and/or registration may be necessary for any and all classes listed below, especially those provided by volunteer BleachWatch instructors. In-water training requires the participant first take a 2-hr BW class.
Please also check the FDEP Coral Program SEAFAN BleachWatch Wedpage for more information and resources. The FDEP CRCP can be contacted directly via email at: coral(at)floridadep.gov.
In April 2020, the SEAFAN BleachWatch intro training was conducted online and can be found recorded along with other informative webinars including fish, invertebrate, and coral ID.
NOTE: The March 28, 2020 OCEAN DAY EVENT (featuring a free 2-hr BleachWatch training) has been indefinitely postponed due to Covid-19 Virus public health concerns. Please check back soon for Ocean Day BleachWatch rescheduling. Thank you!
RECENT BLEACHWATCH TRAINING ACTIVITIES:
April 2020 - The FDEP CRCP hosted an online version of the BleachWatch training that can be found recorded online.
April 2020: Marilu Flores provided an organizational class online to Surfrider Foundation Florida chapter leaders.
QUICK LINKS TO:
SEAFAN.net (SE Florida Action Network) - can be used to report any unusual observations
Interested in sponsoring and/or partnering with the BleachWatch Trainings?
Please Contact FOFR about the many opportunities!
CLASSROOM TRAINING AND IN-WATER FIELD COURSES
Meet the BLEACHWATCH Program Sponsors, Partners & Founders
including but not limited to:
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