Honorable Mention: Conservation Category
This picture is of an endangered Acropora palmata (Elkhorn coral) fragment. During a monitoring trip to check on the few remaining colonies in Broward County, this fragment was found in the sand near it's parent colony. The bright white half of the fragment is freshly exposed skeleton with no living tissue left on it. The orange half is the remaining living tissue left on the fragment. Elkhorn coral is endangered throughout Florida and the Caribbean, with thousands of dollars spent every year in Florida to monitor the few remaining colonies left in the wild. They prefer to grow in shallow, high wave action environments close to shore making them frequent victims human activities such as boating and kick from snorkelers. Sadly, because there are so few colonies left in the wild, there is little chance of sexual reproduction occurring between individuals. This leaves fragments like this one, small and damaged, as some of the only hope for new colonies to grow.