Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

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The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a U.S. National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys. It includes the Florida Reef, the only barrier coral reef in North America and the third-largest coral barrier reef in the world. It also has extensive mangrove forest and seagrass fields. The marine sanctuary includes a 2,800 square nautical mile (9,600 kmĀ²) area surrounding the Keys and reaching into the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The sanctuary was established in 1990.

Covering much of the ocean floor are beds of seagrass that are of vital importance to the coral reef ecosystem.

Human impact

Coral reefs and other marine life in the Florida Keys National Marine sanctuary are threatened by human activities.

Population and urban development

Population growth and urban development are some of the greatest threats to coral reefs. Development activities cause erosion, resulting in the run off of sediments that eventually reach the coral reefs. Storm water run-off carries fertilizers into the ocean, causing damage to the coral reefs. Increase of nutrient concentrations in the reef causes an increase of algae, which may smother the corals.


Along with human population growth, the harvest of resources from the sea is ever growing....
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