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BARBADOS - diving



Photo compliments of Dr Karen Chaney

CORAL - THE ANIMAL

  • Corals are anemone like animals, which secrete a skeleton and most live in colonies.
  • Most corals are colonial composing of hundreds of tiny (2mm.) polyps
  • Each polyp has a central opening for ingestion and excretion, surrounded by tentacles
  • The body cavity of the polyp is called the coelenteron. Its functions include digestion and the circulation of fluids for respiration are each of these coelenterons are linked.
  • Tentacles are used in defense and feeding. They contain stinging cells called nematocysts

    Corals are divided into two categories soft and hard. Soft corals resemble plants, hard corals resemble rocks.


GROWTH FORMS

Barbados reefs and marine lifeColonies exist as different growth forms
- Branching
- Columnar
- Massive
- Encrusting
- Foliaceous
- Laminar
- Free-Living

STRESSORS

  • Coral Reefs are being impacted by both global and anthropogenic stressors
  • Global - Increased Sea Temperatures
  • Anthropogenic Eutrophication
  • Diver Damage / Tourism Pressure
  • Fishing pressure
  • Anchor damage
  • Coral Harvesting

CORAL HEALTH

Coral health is determined primarily by 6 factors:

  • Coral abundance (# of coral colonies)
  • Coral diversity (# different types of coral)
  • Turf and Macro algal abundance
  • Crustose coralline algae
  • Diadema antillarum (cobblers) abundance

REEF HEALTH

  • Algae form a natural part of the reef environment, however a proliferation of such flora indicates nutrient enrichment
  • Crustose coralline algae are good indicators of a healthy reef
  • High numbers of different coral species and a high abundance of coral colonies are good indicators of a healthy reef
  • Diadema antillarum (cobblers) are important grazers on the reef. High numbers are favorable


REEF MONITORING

  • 37 fringing reefs and 6 bank reefs are monitored along the south and west coasts at 5 year intervals (since 1982) 8 east coast reefs are monitored at 5 year intervals (since 1998) These allow for the determination of temporal trends (over time) in the health of coral reef communities


EAST COAST SURVEY RESUTS

  • Surveyed in 1998 and 2003
  • Analysis of data for 2003 in progress
  • Rich and diverse assembly of hard and soft corals
  • Hard coral abundance ranges from 5.9% - 25.7%
  • Most abundant hard coral site (Lamberts's Point)
  • Unusual assemblages e.g Gorgonian Pavement

SUMMARY

Slight improvement in fringing reef health
Overall deterioration in bank reef health
Overall increase in macro and turf algae
Overall decrease in crustose coralline algae

FINAL WORDS

Corals are some of the most fragile yet resilient organisms on this planet They existed on this planet before humans However, they are being impacted by numerous stressors In order to protect this resource, we first have to understand it.. This is the role of the Marine Research Section of the Coastal Zone Management Unit Please help us to protect this valuable resource

WHAT YOU CAN DO

You can start by having a look at the coral reefs ...glass bottom boat, Atlantis submarine, snorkeling or diving
Get involved in underwater and beach clean-ups


Help us to monitor coral reefs.its easy and lots of fun!

Contact us

 

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