Research is taking place in St. Kitts and Nevis as part of the second research project of a multi-year Global Reef Expedition, a world-wide study of the health and resilience of coral reef environments. Executive Director Captain Phillip Renaud says that “the challenge ahead is to muster the political will and harness international resources to stop and reverse the momentum of ocean degradation.” Caribbean 360 reports:
The work there, being done by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), will continue until June 13. Under the banner of Science without Borders, the ambitious Global Reef Expedition is being outfitted, equipped and financed by the Maryland-based Foundation which has built a core expertise around coral reef research, conservation, and restoration activities. The 10-day research expedition in the waters surrounding St. Kitts and Nevis will use the highly equipped, specially outfitted 220 foot research vessel, Golden Shadow, as a research platform.
Captain Phillip Renaud, the Foundation’s Executive Director, noted that coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet and rival tropical rain forests for the sheer number of species they support. The health of coral reefs worldwide serves as a bellwether for the overall health of our planet.
[. . .] Andrew Bruckner, Ph.D., the Foundation’s Chief Scientist, said the scientific objectives of the St. Kitts and Nevis research are three-fold: to validate marine habitat maps by verifying the distribution and location of the shallow marine habitats; understand the species composition of these marine habitats; and characterize the community structure, health, and resilience of associated coral reef ecosystems.
Philip Kramer, Director of the Caribbean Programme at TNC said the survey results will be used to inform new approaches to ecosystem-based fisheries management and expanding marine protected areas in several countries under the Caribbean Challenge initiative. “The Nature Conservancy is pleased to collaborate with the Living Oceans Foundation to support this first-ever comprehensive assessment of the coral reefs of St. Kitts and Nevis carried out at the request of Government,” added Ruth Blyther, TNC’s Eastern Caribbean Representative. [. . .]
For photos and more information on coral reefs, see http://marinebio.org/oceans/coral-reefs.asp