Florida is the only state in the continental United States to have extensive shallow coral reef formations near its coasts. These reefs extend over 300 miles from the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County, to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico. The most productive reef development occurs seaward of the Florida Keys, and the most extensive living coral reef in the United States is adjacent to the island chain of the Florida Keys. The Florida Reef Tract possesses coral formations very similar to those found in the Bahamas and Caribbean Sea.

All but the northernmost extent of the reef tract lies within the boundaries of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The 2,800 square nautical mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), designated in 1992, surrounds the entire archipelago of the Florida Keys and includes the productive waters of Florida Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Discontinuous and less biologically diverse coral reef communities continue northward along western Florida shores to the Florida Middle Grounds, a series of submerged pinnacles rising to within 60-80 ft of the surface, about 100 miles northwest of St. Petersburg.

In addition to local residents, millions of tourists travel to Florida to enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing on south Florida's coral reefs. These activities provide a great source of income for Florida and its coastal communities. It is estimated that coral reef activities in Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties generate $3.4 billion in sales in general and income and support 36,000 jobs in the region each year.

Since 2014, Florida's coral reefs have been experiencing a multi-year outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. While disease outbreaks are not uncommon, this event is unique due to its large geographic range, extended duration, rapid progression, high rates of mortality and the number of species affected. The disease can be transmitted to other corals through direct contact and water circulation. Researchers are working to identify potential pathogens and relationships with environmental factors, strategies to treat diseased colonies, and identify genotypes of corals that are resistant to the disease.

Florida location map

Florida location map

Florida satellite map

Florida satellite map


OCM Coastal Impact Stories: Coral Reef Conservation Program in Florida

National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Socioeconomic Monitoring Component Summary Findings for South Florida (2014)


Florida's Coral Reef Management Priorities (2010)

Florida Capacity Assessment Report and Coral Reef Conservation Timeline

A cooperative multi-agency reef fish monitoring protocol for the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem. Natural Resource Report NPS/SFCN/NRR-2009/150

Southeast Florida Coral Reef Fishery Independent Baseline Assessment 2012-2014 Summary Report

An Integrated Biogeographic Assessment of Reef Fish Populations and Fisheries in Dry Tortugas : Effects of No-Take Reserves - NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 111

Mapping Southern Florida’s Shallow-water Coral Reef Ecosystems: An Implementation Plan

National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Socioeconomic Monitoring Component Summary Findings for South Florida (2014)

Socioeconomic Impacts of Marine Reserves - Tortugas Ecological Reserve

A Socioeconomic Study of Reefs in Southeast Florida, Final Report - October 19, 2001

Report on the Status of Marine Protected Areas in Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States. Volume 1: Marine Protected Areas Managed by U.S. States,Territories, and Commonwealths. NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP 2 February 2007

Can marine “protected” areas be effective?

State of The Reefs report (SOTR)

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2008.

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2005.

The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States: 2002.

Local Action Strategy

Florida Local Action Strategy Factsheet

Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative: A Local Action Strategy

Management Activities

Florida Reef Tract Coral Bleaching Response Plan

Climate Change Action Plan for the Florida Reef System 2010-2015

Our Florida Reefs Community Planning Process

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Response

Metadata, Data and Publications search in CoRIS

Search the CoRIS Geoportal for Florida metadata, data and publications

Reef Base Coral Bleaching Reports

Select "U.S. Caribbean" in the Region window and " Florida (USA)" in the Country window

Real Time and Near-Real Time Monitoring Data

Coral Reef Watch Satellite Monitoring

Coral Reef Watch - Florida Keys

The Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Program

NOAA/National Weather Service - Data from Florida

NOAA CO-OPS - Tide Data

NOAA Tide Predictions - Florida

Cheeca Rocks Ocean Acidification Monitoring Buoy

Other Data & Information

Historical Atlas of Southern Florida Shallow-water Benthic Habitats (1991)

South Atlantic Deep Coral Assessment - Deep Coral Cruise Data

Continuous bottom temperature measurements in strategic areas of the Florida Reef Tract

Coral reef fish species survey data GIS from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (1979 to 1998)

Florida Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) Files

USGS Projected Flood Extent for Florida

Education and Outreach

Aquarius Reef Base - Education and Outreach

Reef Relief Home Page

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Coral Reef Conservation Program

Florida’s Coral Reefs

Florida Reef Tract Coral Disease Outbreak

Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

South Florida Water Management District

The South Florida and Caribbean Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (SFC CESU)

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science - Coral Reef Futures Lab

NOAA Ocean Service - Corals Tutorial

Aquarius Undersea Laboratory

Marine Protected Areas/ Marine Managed Areas (MPA)

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf, and South Atlantic

Marine Protected Areas of the United States Home Page

The Marine Protected Areas Inventory

Federal MPA Legislation

Marine Federal Areas Fact Sheet

Executive order 13158: Marine Protected Areas

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge

Biscayne National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Everglades National Park

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges (Florida)

Florida Middle Grounds Habitat Area of Particular Concern

Nathaniel P. Reed Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary Outstanding Florida Water

Key West National Wildlife Refuge

Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge

Reef Fish Longline and Buoy Gear Restricted Area

Reef Fish Stressed Area

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Tortugas Ecological Reserve

Virginia Key No Entry Zone