© Copyright Seacamp Assoc. Inc. 1997 All Rights
OUR PROGRAMS - CORAL ECOLOGY
NEARSHORE ECOLOGY - COASTAL
MARINE INVESTIGATIONS - EVENING
PROGRAMS - VAN TRIPS
CORAL ECOLOGY -
SNORKELING TRIPS BY BOAT - DAYTIME PROGRAM #1
Inshore Patch Reefs
Located in 10 -12 feet of water about two miles from NHMI, the patch reefs
(also referred to as "the coral heads") are located landward of
the Florida Reef Tract. The circular patches of star and brain corals harbor
a diversity of fish and invertebrates easily observed by snorkeling students.
Offshore Bank Reef
Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary, a bank reef seven miles south of NHMI,
is part of the Florida Reef Tract. Looe Key exhibits classical reef zonation
and development patterns (spur and groove), with depths ranging from the
reef crest (2-4 feet) to 60 feet. Possible study sites include the fore
reef and the back reef (lagoon). This program option is available to older
students only (9th grade and above).
Adjacent to the coral heads and in nearby shallow hard bottom areas are
stands of sea whips and sea fans (gorgonians). Students enjoy the diverse
invertebrate communities in these areas. Exploring this habitat may be combined
with a trip to the patch reef, or the soft coral community could be an option
for a second boat trip.
Non-Reef-Building Coral Communities
Non-reef-building corals, such as rose coral, finger coral and golf ball
coral, grow in shallow water all around NHMI, affording snorkelers an excellent
opportunity to view living corals "up close".
Gulf of Mexico Coral Communities
High school groups opting for an all-day boat trip may want to snorkel around
coral communities in the backcountry of the Gulf of Mexico. The relative
wilderness of the area and its unique environment make for an interesting
contrast to the reefs of the Atlantic Ocean side of the Keys.