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Early in the new millennium, inspection of the reefs of St. John suggested that soft corals were thriving while stony corals were dying; this observation was similar to events occurring in the Florida Keys.  Starting in 2014, a new front to the project was initiated to provide a soft coral “overlay” to the analyses of stony corals, and to strengthen the ability to project the structure and function of coral reefs into the future.  The project has conducted a retrospective analysis of soft coral community structure in the legacy photoquadrats, initiated a series of process-oriented studies designed to determine why soft corals are doing so well under present conditions, and began a program of time series analyses that are uniquely matched to the challenges of quantifying three-dimensional and flexible organisms.
Additional projects related to this work can be found here and here.

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