Star Island Seawall Collapse & Coral Rescue

As reported in the Miami New Times, in June 2022, a combination of heavy rains and an ancient crumbling seawall in the process of reinforcement along Star Island’s southwest corner resulted in its collapse. The collapse was discovered by our colleagues at NOAA who arrived there by boat to study the nature and resilience of the urban corals in North Biscayne Bay. This is in addition to sites on the north and south side of the MacArthur Causeway and the east end of PortMiami near the Coral City Camera. Brain corals from these sites were analyzed and published ‘Molecular Mechanisms of Coral Persistence Within Highly Urbanized Locations in PortMiami’ in 2021, the first paper of its kind to offer an explanation for the success of these corals compared to their offshore counterparts. Coral Morphologic first began exploring these urban habitats after documenting an unusual Acropora sp. inside Government Cut in 2009 which totally upended the idea of what an ‘ideal’ habitat was for these endangered stony corals. We subsequently started exploring areas deeper in North Biscayne Bay and found surprisingly robust populations of reef building corals. When a historic cold snap in January 2010 left them unphased (while the Florida Keys nearshore corals were all but wiped out), we began to suspect that the corals in these habitats were truly special, and scientifically valuable for research. MORE

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