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By KEVIN WADLOW. [email protected]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 06:00 AM EDT

By KEVIN WADLOW A hogfish swims by a healthy brain coral on a Florida Keys patch reef. A new study says brain, boulder star, massive starlet and mustard corals were decimated by the cold snap of January 2010.

Florida Keys corals that took centuries to grow died within days during the frigid January 2010 cold snap, says a newly published scientific study.

“Some monumental corals that were 200 or 300 years old perished in a span of five days,” said Rob Ruzicka, a co-author with Michael Colella of the patch-reef study published in the February edition of Coral Reefs, the journal of the International Society for Reef Studies.

Colella and Ruzicka work for the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and have been involved with the 17-year history of the institute’s Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring Project.

The published cold-water study focuses on patch reefs, generally found in depths of 12 to 20 feet in Hawk Channel, inside the main Florida Keys coral reef, that did not suffer damage as severe. Read the full article at