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The Florida reef tract, the third largest barrier reef in the world, extends from Fowey Rocks, near Miami, to the Tortugas, off of Key West. The system arches in a southwesterly direction for 221 miles and includes approximately 6,000 patch reefs. Although coral reefs cover only about 1 percent of the world's ocean floor, they contain a huge diversity of life. One preliminary report recorded over 550 species on one reef in Key Largo and it is estimated that this represents only a small fraction of the resident species. (photo: Florida Keys NMS)

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