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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The world’s top scientists gathered in the Florida Keys this week to find ways to preserve and restore the planet’s coral reefs.

The ‘Reef Futures Conference’ was held at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo and attracted over 400 experts from 40 countries.

The goal of the conference was to “bring awareness to the plight of dying coral reefs and on ways to save and restore fragile underwater reef ecosystems.”

“This conference is an incredible opportunity for us in the Florida Keys to bring together experts from around the world who are all trying to address a shared problem, and that is threats to our reefs,” said Sarah Fangman, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary superintendent.

“Reefs around the world face threats from warming water temperatures, from water quality issues, from direct impacts, from overfishing, so all around the world, we face a lot of the same problems.”

Scientists concluded that immediate and aggressive action on climate change is needed for long-term survival of all reefs.

They stressed that carbon in the atmosphere will continue to warm ocean waters, which continue to challenge coral ecosystems.

“Replanting reefs with resilient and reproductively-viable corals are needed,” global experts said.

Florida’s coral reefs represent the third largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world.

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