Vandenberg exceeds expectations for coral growth

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Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 3:01 am

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Five years after being sunk in the waters off Key West, a former military ship is exceeding expectations for promoting coral growth.

The Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg was sunk as an artificial reef in 2009. Project organizer Joe Weatherby says he's documented 10 different species of coral on the ship. Those corals include mountain star and boulder corals, some of the main reef-building corals in the Florida Keys. They grow up to the size of a softball.

Weatherby tells The Key West Citizen ( ) that he thought it would be decades before the Vandenberg showed that kind of coral growth. He says the Vandenberg is "in full bloom" thanks to good water quality and currents, along with plenty of sunlight and lots of algae-eating sea urchins.


Information from: The Key West (Fla.) Citizen,

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