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He sprinkled his maps with miscellany that later charts would omit: where sea turtles made their nests, or the colours and consistency of sand. And in doing so he created the oldest known records of Florida reefs.“With the early charts you can actually see the reef itself being drawn,” said Loren Mc Clenachan, a marine ecologist at Colby College in Maine.The rising seawater sweeps out mangrove and saw-grass debris as well as sediment, he said, which can choke coral.Looking at older ecological records helps redefine what we think of as a natural baseline - particularly in marine environments, Mc Clenachan said, where we don't have a lot of historical information.Between 17, George Gauld, a surveyor with the British Admiralty, immortalised the coast of the Florida Keys in ink.Though his most pressing goal was to record the depth of the sea - to prevent future shipwrecks - Gauld embraced his naturalist side, too.Despite such limitations, dismissing these charts, Purkis said, would be “overlooking a very rich data source.” The causes of modern coral deaths are widespread, Mc Clenachan said, such as more-acidic oceans and higher water temperatures. As for the exact reasons for the disappearance of the Florida corals, “we can't get at that,” she said.“All we have is then and now.” But the marine ecologist offered a few possible explanations, most of them involving humans.
Fish, including many species that end up on dinner plates, spawn and grow around coral.Strictly speaking "maritime art" should always include some element of human seafaring, whereas "marine art" would also include pure seascapes with no human element, though this distinction may not be observed in practice.Ships and boats have been included in art from almost the earliest times, but marine art only began to become a distinct genre, with specialized artists, towards the end of the Middle Ages, mostly in the form of the "ship portrait" a type of work that is still popular and concentrates on depicting a single vessel.At the fore-reef, the coral at the most seaward edge of the reef, there appeared to be no loss between historical coral observations and modern habitat maps.“I was surprised that there was such a strong spatial gradient,” Mc Clenachan said.