The Coral Monitoring Project on Peanut Island is being conducted by interns of The Reef Institute with close oversight by our marine biologists. Peanut Island is a man made island created in 1918 through the dredging of the Port of Palm Beach.
In 2005, the island was renovated and an artificial reef was created. Artificial reefs are man-made underwater structures to promote marine life. Peanut Island has since become a well known tourist destination for snorkelers because of its shallow artificial reefs attracting a wide array of biodiversity.
In 2018, The Reef Institute initiated our Coral Monitoring Project on Peanut Island. This initiative was approved by Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management to be carried out by Reef Institute interns with our Palm Beach State College Environmental Studies and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
We have now identified 12 different species of coral and tagged over 50 individual corals and counting! Data is being collected on a weekly basis on each species, health, and growth to find out information on their survivorship and resilience. As interns and marine biologists collect the data, The Reef Institute is analyzing resiliency of Palm Beach County coral vs that we have brought in house to seed bank from less ideal environments in Broward and Miami.
The next phase of research will be focused on the necessity of a coral nursery at Peanut Island as the corals show high recruitment and stability.
Be sure to keep a look out for our tags on your next snorkel trip! To learn more about individual corals tagged, download iNaturalist and become a citizen scientist. Snap a pic of the tagged coral and add it to our catalogue for our marine biologists to continue to monitor coloration and health.