BonaireTalk Discussion Group
Bonaire Nature & Nature Organizations: Caribbean Coral Health - Spring 2006
Bonaire Nature & Nature Organizations:
Fish and Sealife of Bonaire:
Caribbean Coral Health - Spring 2006
| By Josh Schrank ( Post #1) on Saturday, April 1, 2006 - 3:52 pm: |
I just ran across this article and thought I would share it with everyohe. We haven't been on Bonaire since early December, and then we only got in the water a few times (spent most of our time hanging out harassing Michael and the good folk at Sunbelt). I'm curious as to everyone's current opinion on the reef's health. How is it looking?
| By Biodiversity Guy (BonaireTalker - Post #28) on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 - 3:03 am: |
We were down in December and to my uneducated eye the reefs appeared fairly healthy. I did not see any major coral bleaching. What I did see were patches of red algae growing on some of the coral heads.
As mentioned in an earlier post, it appears that nutrients (fertilizers, animal waste, septic effluent) have a major negative impact on reef health.
There was an interesting special on TV focusing on the Crown of Thorns sea star that is decimating much of the Barrier Reef. The currently accepted theory is that the nutrients pouring into the ocean off of Australia from their agriculture has made the larval stage of the crown of thorns thrive to the point that there are orders of magnitude more adults now because of drastically increased larval survival.
When one realizes that a coral reef is a very sterile environment that tightly captures and recycles almost all of its nutrients and energy, it is easier to understand that adding excess nutrients may have significant unexpected impacts to community structure. Fish watching makes one realize how many fish are focused on harvesting the algae that threatens to overwhelm the corals. Adding more nutrients to cause more algae to grow faster is a recipe for disaster.
Bonaire needs to carefully manage its wastewater--as it appears to be doing. One of the best things going for Bonaire's reefs is its dry climate. This has reduced the total amount of agriculture on the island and also reduced the nutrient flows from the land to the marine system when it does rain.
Next week the Bonaire National Marine Park will be doing their quarterly nutrient sampling. This particular program is sponsored by Harbor Branch in Florida and runs in conjunction with a program in Curacao. Check this site for news.
The BNMP web site is being updated and hopefully soon there will be access to what studies are being done on island.
Wastewater management has been a hot topic for quite some time. It will be interesting to see what route is taken once Bonaire's status with the Netherlands is in place.
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