The Living Oceans Foundation has chosen The Bahamas for the opening of its Global Reef Expedition, a five year, worldwide study of the health of the coral reef environments.
In making the announcement, Captain Philip Renaud, USN (ret), the Foundation’s executive director, noted that up to 80 percent of all life on the earth is found in the oceans, and that the health of the coral reefs is critical to the health of many species that inhabit the oceans.
Under the banner of Science without Borders, the ambitious Global Reef Expedition will be outfitted, equipped and financed by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, which is headquartered in the Washington DC suburb of Landover, Maryland. The Global Reef Expedition will begin with six months of research in strategic parts of The Bahamas, beginning with the Cay Sal Bank April 26 to May 18. It will then travel to the southernmost district to study the Hogsty Reef and other areas off the Inagua Islands in August, and then on to Andros and Abaco in October. The highly equipped, specially outfitted 220 foot research vessel, Golden Shadow, will be operating headquarters for the Expedition.
Bahamian scientists will be part of the Bahamas research. They will be joined by 13 other scientists from the United Kingdom, the United States and Colombia aboard Golden Shadow. The expedition will spend 10 days studying coral reefs in St Kitts and Nevis in June in-between coral reef research in The Bahamas.
With the support from governments of sovereign countries around the world, future legs of the expedition will bring its teams of scientists and professionals to Jamaica, Colombia, the Galapagos Islands and then on to French Polynesia and the Great Barrier Reef.
The founder of the Living Oceans Foundation, Saudi Arabia Prince Khaled bin Sultan, said, “It is not always clear to the casual observer that ocean health is in serious trouble. But it is. If we do not take aggressive steps to care for our ocean now, our inaction will have dire consequences for the future. Our children and grandchildren will certainly suffer the consequences. Over the past 50 years, 20 per cent of coral reefs worldwide have died. It is conceivable that over the course of one human lifetime more than half of coral reefs worldwide will no longer exist.”
[. . .] The primary scientific goals of the expedition are to map and characterize coral reef ecosystems, evaluate their current status and major threats, and identify factors that enhance their capacity to resist, survive and rapidly recover from major disturbance events. This information is critical for developing sound management strategies for coral reefs.
For more information on the Living Oceans Foundation, see http://www.livingoceansfoundation.org/