Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium - Sarasota, Florida


Coral bleaching, which is the corals’ loss of their symbiotic algae called zooxanthellae, is a natural event that occurs to some extent every year in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary(FKNMS). While records show that coral bleaching events have been occurring for many years in the Florida Keys, indications are that the frequency and severity has steadily increased since the 1980’s. Large-scale mass coral bleaching events are driven by unusually warm sea temperatures. The effects of these mass events are potentially devastating to ecosystems and the people who depend on them.

With support from and coordination with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary(FKNMS), a program was created and modeled after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's "BleachWatch" program. The project coordinator routinely reviews existing NOAA monitoring stations and satellite imagery analysis to track changes in environmental conditions within the Florida Keys region.

In addition, specially trained volunteers known as the Florida Keys “BleachWatch” observers collect field observations to monitor for signs of coral bleaching. Mote will work to gather and consolidate the existing NOAA analysis from satellite and monitoring data, combine that data with field observations by trained "BleachWatch" observers, and provide the FKNMS with a summary, or "current conditions report", throughout the summer.

Information from NOAA's remote sensing and in-situ environmental monitoring analysis are combined with "BleachWatch" volunteer observations in the field to provide a comprehensive overview of "current conditions" throughout the FKNMS. These reports will be generated according to the current conditions and the potential risk for coral bleaching.
(Click on image to view the most recent "Current Conditions Report")

For more information about the BleachWatch program, or the "current conditions reports", please contact Cory Walter,  BleachWatch Coordinator, at Mote Marine Laboratory - (305)745-2729 ext. 301 

Funding Provided By:


Mote Marine Laboratory - Tropical Research Laboratory
24244 Overseas Highway, Summerland Key, Florida 33042
(305)745-2729 - (305) 745-2730(FAX) -

"Current Conditions Report" provides a summary of NOAA's coral bleaching early warning products and reports from trained Florida Keys observers.

Network of Volunteer Observers

Compile Reports of Coral Condition

Compliments other Mote Research Programs Related to Coral Bleaching