plight of coral reefs in Trinidad and Tobago


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plight of coral reefs in Trinidad and Tobago

  1. 1. The Plight of Coral Reefs<br /> in Trinidad & Tobago:<br />What are we doing?<br />Presentation<br />by<br />Barry Lovelace, MSc<br /><br />365-4557<br />
  2. 2. A Non-Profit Company established in 1999<br /><br />
  3. 3. Our Vision<br />The Buccoo Reef Trust envisions a Trinidad and Tobago that has an environment, well conserved so as to allow for the maximization of current opportunities for sustainable livelihoods that enhance the quality of life while protecting the same for the benefit of future generation.<br />
  4. 4. Keeping the Balance Right<br />The BRT Strategy<br />RESEARCH, EDUCATION & CONSERVATION<br />
  5. 5. Keeping the Balance Right<br />The BRT Strategy<br />Acquiring accurate and reliable data, information and knowledge on marine/coastal resources.<br />Research<br />
  6. 6. Keeping the Balance Right<br />The BRT Strategy<br />Educating ‘Trinbagonians’ to understand their impact on the environment and hence motivating informed decisions/actions for sustainable use of resources.(one can only love what one knows)<br />Research + Education<br />
  7. 7. Keeping the Balance Right<br />The BRT Strategy<br />Research and Education causes positive changes in human behaviour and guides innovations and policies toward sustainable living - Conservation<br />Research + Education Conservation<br />
  8. 8. Our Amazing<br />Coral Reefs<br />
  9. 9. Our Amazing<br />Coral Reefs<br />Value of reefs<br />Understanding corals<br />Threats!!<br />What can we do?<br />
  10. 10. Our Amazing<br />Coral Reefs<br />Geological structures built by living organisms<br />Made of calcium carbonate (commonly called limestone)<br />
  11. 11. Our Amazing<br />Coral Reefs<br />Among the most diverse and complex ecosystems in the world (submarine cities)<br />Among the most heavily utilised and economically valuable resources to humankind<br />Among the most beautiful and fascinating places on earth<br />
  12. 12.
  13. 13. Coral Reefs<br />
  14. 14. Coral Reefs<br />
  15. 15. Coral Reefs<br />
  16. 16. Coral Reefs<br />
  17. 17. Coral Reefs<br />
  18. 18. Coral Reefs<br />
  19. 19. Why areCoral Reefsimportant?<br />
  20. 20. Why areCoral Reefsimportant?<br />In 2006 the World Resource Institute (WRI) presented the estimates of an economic valuation of several Caribbean reefs, Tobago included.<br />
  21. 21. Why areCoral Reefsimportant?<br />Coral reef-associatedTourism and Recreation<br />contributedbetween US$100 and $130 millionto the national economy in 2006<br />
  22. 22. Divers at Speyside<br />
  23. 23. Glass bottom boat tours at Buccoo Reef<br />
  24. 24. Why areCoral Reefsimportant?<br />Coral reef-associatedFisheries<br />provided annual economic benefits estimated between US$ 0.8 and $1.3 million<br />In 2006<br />
  25. 25. Important source of protein in the Caribbean<br />snapper<br />parrot fish<br />Spanish hogfish<br />parrotfish<br />grouper<br />grunt<br />
  26. 26. Why areCoral Reefsimportant?<br />Shoreline Protection Services of Coral Reefs<br />avoided erosion and storm damage from waves valued between US$18 and $33 million per year<br />
  27. 27. Buccoo Reef<br />Tobago’s largest fringing reef on the way to becoming a small barrier reef<br />Reef dissipates wave energy and prevents coastal erosion<br />
  28. 28. Tourism and recreation<br />Fisheries<br />Shoreline Protection<br />US$ 100 – 130<br />US$ 0.8 – 1.3<br />US$ 18 – 33 <br />US$ 119 – 164<br />Why areCoral Reefsimportant?<br />These are significant compared to Tobago’s GDP, which was US$286 million in 2006.<br />Coral reefs provide other important values not captured in study (beaches, cultural, pharmaceuticals). <br />
  29. 29. Understandingthe threats to coral reefs<br />Optimum conditions for survival<br />
  30. 30. Found worldwide in tropical waters…..<br /> ….warm, clear shallow water.<br />
  31. 31. Coral Polyps build reefs<br />
  32. 32. Coral Polyps build reefs<br />Most corals consist of many small animals (polyps) living together in a large group or a colony.<br />
  33. 33. The Polyp<br />Mouth – ingests food; expels waste<br />Tentacles – capture food<br />Gut – digests food<br />Skin – contains zooxanthellae<br />Skeleton (coralite cups) – protective calcium carbonate structure<br /><ul><li>Tube-shaped body
  34. 34. Sessile</li></li></ul><li>The Polyp Gets Energy from:<br />Sunlight (90%)<br />Filter feeding (10%)<br />
  35. 35. Filter feeding<br />nematocyst<br />zooplankton<br />At night, polyps feed on tiny floating animals(zoo-plankton).<br />They paralyse prey with stinging cells callednematocyst.<br />Tentacles pass food to the mouth which then gets digested in the stomach.<br />Waste is expelled through mouth.<br />
  36. 36. sunlight<br />Inner cells<br />zooxanthellae<br />Energy from sunlight<br />Coral polyps retreat into their coralite cups during day.<br />Single-celled plants in skin (zooxanthellae), produce food (sugars) from sunlight (photosynthesis). <br />
  37. 37. Coral Bleaching!!!<br />sunlight<br />Inner cells<br />zooxanthellae<br /><ul><li>Stress: Temperature rise
  38. 38. Polyp expels zooxanthellae
  39. 39. colony appears brilliant white
  40. 40. 4 – 6 week of bleaching, corals would starve to death.</li></li></ul><li>SEPTEMBER 2005<br />Bleaching of Fire Corals and Brain Corals first observed!<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  41. 41. OCTOBER 2005<br />Bleaching spread to most coral species<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  42. 42. OCTOBER 2005<br />Buccoo Reef Trust and Coral Cay Conservation Team up to survey main reefs for severity and extent of bleaching…<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  43. 43. Financial assistance from Tobago House of Assembly and Travel Foundation<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  44. 44. Method<br />25 Sites were surveyed using Point Intercept Transect<br />Report available at<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  45. 45. Results<br />Overall 66%of hard coral bleached!!<br />Report available at<br />Coral Bleaching<br />At some sites over 85% bleached<br />
  46. 46. NOVEMBER 2005 - SEPTEMBER 2006<br />Buccoo Reef Trust continue to monitor reefs for recovery/mortality<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  47. 47. Coral Bleaching<br />
  48. 48. Method <br />8 stations were established from previous survey sites<br />Coral Bleaching<br />
  49. 49. At each station, 20 discrete colonies were tagged, photographed repeatedly, and analyzed over the period the 10 month period<br />
  50. 50. Results <br />66% Bleached colonies:<br /> November 2005<br />A Bleached colony<br />
  51. 51. Results <br />Partial Mortality: 32.5%<br />Some areas died: Sept. 2006<br />A Bleached colony: Nov. 2005<br />
  52. 52. Results <br />November 2005 <br />A Bleached colony<br />
  53. 53. Results <br />Total Mortality: 6.6%<br />Sept. 2006<br />A Bleached colony: Nov. 2005<br />
  54. 54. What next?<br />
  55. 55. How do we deal with Coral Bleaching?<br />Reduce stress from human activities<br />
  56. 56. Reef Walking…<br />
  57. 57. …prevents small corals…<br />
  58. 58. …and boat anchors…<br />
  59. 59. …kill live corals.<br />
  60. 60. Simple solutions to preventing anchor damage<br /> - Install moorings and reef demarcation buoys<br />- Avoid reef walking and contact with corals<br />
  61. 61. Algae<br />Coral<br />Drain <br />Wastewater<br />
  62. 62. Runoff from cleared lands results in sedimentation of water…<br />Sediment kill reef<br />
  63. 63. Introduction<br />Sediment kill reef<br /><br />
  64. 64. Coral Reef Monitoring Programme<br /><ul><li>Began Jan. 2007 13 fixed stations
  65. 65. 10m depth
  66. 66. 20 permanent transects each
  67. 67. Video captured
  68. 68. CPCe software analysis
  69. 69. Sediment traps
  70. 70. Water quality testing</li></ul><br />
  71. 71. Coral Reef Monitoring Programme<br /><ul><li>Began Jan. 2007 13 fixed stations
  72. 72. 10m depth
  73. 73. 20 permanent transects each
  74. 74. Video captured
  75. 75. CPCe software analysis
  76. 76. Sediment traps
  77. 77. Water quality testing</li></ul><br />
  78. 78. Coral Reef Monitoring Programme<br /><ul><li>Began Jan. 2007 13 fixed stations
  79. 79. 10m depth
  80. 80. 20 permanent transects each
  81. 81. Video captured
  82. 82. CPCe software analysis
  83. 83. Sediment traps
  84. 84. Water quality testing</li></li></ul><li>Results: <br />Percent Cover of Coral and Macroalgae at reefs around Tobago<br />
  85. 85. Results: <br />Sediment loading (grams of dry weight) at selected reef stations around Tobago <br /><br />
  86. 86. Live Hard Coral Cover Trends at 13 stations<br />Increase<br />No change<br />Decrease<br />North Point<br />Sister’s Rock<br />Black Jack Hole<br />Eng’man Bay<br />Spiny Colony<br />Colloden<br />Arnos Vale<br />Plymouth<br />Mt Irvine<br />Buccoo Reef<br />Kariwak<br />Bulldog Reef<br />Cove<br />
  87. 87. Results: <br />Slow but steady progression of yellow band disease 2007<br /> January April July October<br />
  88. 88. Conclusions<br />The total percent cover of live hard coral on Tobago’s reefs is low, at an average of 17.55% with no significant change over the three years of study. <br /> <br />Both Bulldog and Cove Reef have the lowest amount of live coral (5%) and high macroalgal cover (over 40%), while dead coral composes the rest of the reef. These two sites are down current from Scarborough, the main town in Tobago, and are affected by land-based sources of silt and pollution.<br />
  89. 89. Conclusions<br />The sediment that settles on the study reefs is coming from land. Monitoring stations situated far away from the coast such as Sisters Rocks, had a low sedimentation rate, less than 0.5 gram of dry weight per month, while other study sites like Little Englishman’s Bay had over 60 grams per month.<br /> <br />Three reefs showed increase in live hard coral such as Spiny Colony in Speyside, Plymouth and the Buccoo Reef.<br />
  90. 90. Conclusions<br />Six reefs had no change over the three year study: Bulldog Reef (off Scarborough), Sisters Rocks, Arnos Vale, Mount Irvine, Blackjack Hole (Speyside), and Little Englishman’s Bay.<br /> <br />Four reefs lost live coral cover: Cove reef close to Scarborough, North Point off Charlotteville and Culloden. Kariwak lost more than half of its live coral in 3 years.<br /> <br />The most prevalent coral disease is Yellow Blotch Disease (YBD), which was found in 9 of the 13 monitoring stations infecting Montastraea faveolata<br />
  91. 91. Recommendations<br />We recommend the implementation of policies that address coastal sediment by minimizing soil erosion from agriculture, deforestation and construction. These should include more rigorous procedures for planning and the issuing of Certificates of Environmental Clearance that require the applicant to take steps to prevent mud from entering coastal waters (e.g. the use of sediment traps on construction sites, seeding exposed soil with grass). <br /> <br />All domestic and industrial wastewater should be treated before reaching the sea, or if this is not feasible, diverted to outfall pipes that discharge far from the coastline, in deep water with strong currents.<br />
  92. 92. Recommendations<br />We also recommend the creation of new marine protected areas (MPAs) around Tobago. These MPAs should focus on areas of healthy coral and include areas where fishing activities are restricted, in order to increase populations of herbivores (e.g., parrotfish) which are critically important to the recovery and resilience of coral reefs after bleaching or disease outbreaks (Mumby et al., 2006). MPAs are also known to benefit fisheries and tourism, as they act as fish replenishment reserves where commercially important species of fish and shellfish (e,g, groupers, snappers, lobster) are allowed to grow and reproduce while also providing an attraction for divers and snorkelers.<br />
  93. 93. Recommendations<br />Monitoring programs on coral reefs provide information about the status of these ecosystems and can help to observe changes over time. They can also indicate the factors that have negative impact on the reefs and make suggestions on how to solve them. With this information, policymakers can take action to solve the issues before is too late. Therefore, it’s recommended to continue monitoring coral reefs in Tobago so everyone can be informed about what happens afterwards, and if there is any improvement in the ecosystem. The Reef-check protocol is a very simple and economic way to keep gathering valuable data and should be adopted and applied indefinitely in Tobago. <br />
  94. 94. What YOU can do!<br />
  95. 95. Protecting our sea of lifemust be our way of life!<br />EDUCATE SELF<br /><br />
  96. 96. Protecting our sea of lifemust be our way of life!<br />SPEAK OUT!!<br /><br />
  97. 97. Protecting our sea of lifemust be our way of life!<br />Thank you<br /><br />