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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

Data Release

Florida Keys Corals: A Photographic Record of Changes from 1959 to 2015

By Eugene A. Shinn1 and Ilsa B. Kuffner2

1University of South Florida
2U.S. Geological Survey, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, St. Petersburg, Florida


This data release contains time-series photographs taken of corals and coral habitats in the Florida Keys between 1959 and 2015 at Carysfort Reef and Grecian Rocks (a total of six sites). The original intent was to show coral reef recovery after Hurricane Donna devastated the area in 1960. Corals, especially elkhorn and staghorn coral, grew prolifically after the storm until the late 1970s, then began to decline, with the maximum period of decline centered around 1983 and 1984. These time-series photographs, showing the same individual coral colonies year after year, document the decline in coral health observed at these locations, mirroring patterns seen region-wide across the western Atlantic. A selection of the photographs was previously published (in low resolution) in Lidz and others (2006), wherein findings and conclusions related to these data were discussed.

Lidz, B. H., Reich, C. D., Peterson, R. L., and Shinn, E. A. (2006). New maps, new information: Coral reefs of the Florida Keys. Journal of Coastal Research, 22(2), 260–282.


File Name and Description Metadata (XML format) Metadata (text format) Download File
Time-series photographs of corals 1959–2015
FL_corals-photo-record_metadata.xml FL_corals-photo-record_metadata.txt
(3.1 GB)

Figure 1. Locations of the Carysfort Reef and Grecian Rocks sites in the Florida Keys.
Figure 1. Locations of the Carysfort Reef and Grecian Rocks sites in the Florida Keys.

Suggested Citation

Shinn, E.A., and I. B. Kuffner, 2017, Florida Keys Corals: A photographic record of changes from 1959 to 2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

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