May 25, 2022
Decline of coral populations has been observed worldwide, including in the Florida Reef Tract, and several stressors have been implicated as contributing to this. The most pervasive and deleterious stressors are global sea temperature change and acidification caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Questions have also arisen about the potential for certain sunscreen active ingredients to contribute to the decline in coral health. An investigation was conducted to evaluate environmental stressors to coral in the Florida Reef Tract with a focus on the Florida Keys through the lens of accepted global and local factors. Environmental stressors with the potential to impact coral ecosystems in the Florida Keys are discussed and prioritized.