A group of researchers from the University of Miami has revealed that the 16-month long dredging at the Port of Miami has contributed towards deaths of over half a million corals.
The study, first published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin has revealed that operation may have impacted more than 15 miles of the area.
Talking about the study, Andrew Baker, associate professor of marine biology at the University of Miami said, “Coral reefs worldwide are facing severe declines from climate change. If we want to conserve these ecosystems for the generations that come after us, it’s essential that we do all we can to conserve the corals we still have left. These climate survivors may hold the key to understanding how some corals can survive global changes. We have to start locally by doing all we can to protect our remaining corals from impacts, like dredging, that we have the ability to control or prevent.”
During the course of the research, the scientists analyzed the data collected by the consultants of the environmental monitoring program. Researchers found that the losses in the area were caused mostly by the dredging operations. Ross Cunning, lead author of the paper, noted, “It was important to differentiate these multiple impacts occurring on the reefs to understand the direct effects of dredging specifically. We brought together all the available data from satellites, sediment traps, and hundreds of underwater surveys. Together, the multiple, independent datasets clearly show that dredging caused the major damages observed on these reefs.”