Research and Monitoring

From learning about fish behavior, to understanding how coral reefs protect us from powerful hurricanes, new discoveries and knowledge are sitting just beneath the surface in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

New research helps all of us to better understand the marine ecosystems of the Florida Keys. This includes information on how these ecosystems are interconnected, ecosystem and ecological services they provide to humans, how organisms respond to natural and human-induced changes and threats, and actions that can help conserve, protect, and restore these ecosystems. Research is leading to valuable discoveries of new medicines, development of new technologies to assist these ecosystems in adapting to climate stressors, and new approaches to sustainably manage the ecosystems and the species they support. Science also helps us tell the story of why coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangrove communities are important to our communities, not just locally, but globally.

Monitoring programs also play an important role in understanding the health of our oceans. With information spanning over long periods of time, we can examine trends, notice when changes start to happen, and determine if actions we take to mitigate impacts and restore these ecosystems are working.

The research and long-term monitoring programs:

  • provide critical information on status and trends of resources and impacts of chronic and acute disturbances;
  • help identify possible conservation and management actions;
  • and assist in making decisions on how we can all work together to protect this special place.
schools of yellow, blue, and white striped fish swim through a reef habitat

Condition Report

Learn about the current state of the ecosystem in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

a cartoon sketch showing mangroves, seagrass, fish, boats, scuba divers, and land

Integrated Ecosystem Assessment

Review the status and trends of key indicators within the sanctuary.

A large coral head with lines illustrating boundaries of monitoring

Coral Reef Monitoring

Monitoring helps us look at long-term trends on coral reefs.

a puffer fish among seagrass blades

Seagrass Monitoring

Seagrass plays an important role in water quality, and monitoring seagrass helps us look at long term trends.

A baby turtle swimming just below the surface of clear water

Water Quality Monitoring

Explore how the sanctuary plays a role in water quality protection.

A person on a jet ski races over water


Healthy habitats in the Florida Keys support many livelihoods.

Someone with gloves dumping a handful of plastic cigarette lighters


Learn about some of the threats to sanctuary ecosystem health, such as marine debris and changes in ocean chemistry.