Marine Matters
Coral Disease and Monitoring in the Florida Keys

Craig Quirolo
Director of Marine Projects, Reef Relief, P.O. Box 430, 201 William Street, Key West FL 33041; (304) 294-3100,


In 1943, Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau invented the "aqua lung," which for the first time gave divers freedom of movement beneath the sea. It is astonishing to realize that the first generation to SCUBA dive and interact with the world beneath the sea may be the last to experience coral reefs unaffected by modern civilization's pollution. A study on coral reefs released in 2001 by the United Nations Environment Program's World Conservation Monitoring Center reported that the world’s coral reefs cover a much smaller area than once thought and that coral reefs around the world are disappearing at alarming rates. Globally, coral reefs cover 113,720 square miles, less than one tenth of one percent of the oceans, yet are home to 25% of all of marine life that has been identified by man.