Sargassum blooms are here for the foreseeable future 15Mar2023

UPDATE May 3, 2023
Strange sighting among sargassum seaweed
YouTube Video uploaded May 2, 2023. by Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation


“A blob twice the width of the US is heading towards Florida’s coast”  So reads the title of a March 15, 2023 YouTube video in which  CNN’s Rosemary Church interviews a leading scientist about a 5,000-mile-wide stinky seaweed blob that’s headed for Florida beaches in the coming months. In the video, Barbados is cited as a place where recently 1600 dump truck-full loads a day were being taken from beaches. Continue reading

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Presumptive Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease on Vauxhall Reef & Environs (Barbados) 25Jan2023

UPDATE Feb 16, 2023: SCTLD or White Plague Disease? – we don’t yet know. Based on some discussion I had recently with an authority on this disease, it’s not clear right now whether SCTLD is present in Barbados or whether what we are looking at is an outbreak of WPD (White Plague Disease)…Reviewing my photos to date with reference to descriptions of WPD and SCTLD in Croquer et al., 2021, my interpretation would lean toward WPD rather than SCTLD.However, I  must defer to experts for a definitive ID and as of yet, I am told, there is not enough info. to make  one. Read more


Records of  Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease in the Caribbean by year as reported on AGGRA 25Jan2023.

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease was first observed off the southeast coast of Florida in 2014 and appeared in the northern Caribbean by 2019. It kills the soft tissues of at least 22 species of corals and has been described as “deadliest coral disease ever recorded” (Wikipedia 25Jan2023).

After reading about this disease in 2018 and the ominous forecasts of what it could do to Caribbean reefs, I kept an eye out for it in the Vauxhall Reef area during my visits in 2018, 2019 and 2020 but saw no sign of it.

In early 2023 we returned to Barbados, Holetown area, after missing a couple of years due to Covid-related issues at home. On January 11, conditions were perfect for snorkelling at the Vauxhall  Reef* and I looked out for infected corals… read more

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Disturbing news about cruise ships’ damage to coral reefs 23May2021

From Barbados Today, for May 21, 2021

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Coral Reef Report Card issued for Barbados 16Mar2021

Screenshot of  page 6 from the Report Card. At a glance, you can compare relative abundance of major groups on 3 reef types in Barbados

CERMES, the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies at Cave Hill, Barbados has issued a “Report Card” for the coral reefs of Barbados. From the publication (JA Irvine et al., 2021) reporting on how it was developed:

The 2020 coral reef report card for Barbados serves to collate decades of existing data into an appealing and easily understood document, to inform policy makers and the general public about the status and trends of the island’s valuable coral reefs.

Indeed it does just that.

View the Report Card on PDF pages 31 to 52 of this publication:

A coral report card for Barbados: Development, design and metadata
JA Irvine,  HA Oxenford and R. Suckoo. 2021. CERMES Technical Report No

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Successful re-invigoration of staghorn coral and a lot else at the Oracabessa Bay Fishing Sanctuary in Jamaica 26Apr2020

““We search for dying coral colonies. We take the best coral pieces to the undersea coral nursery, cut them in bits and hang them on vertical lines, 15 feet apart supported by moorings and buoys. After 7 to 8 months we tie them to the reefs with cement (using a technique adapted from Belize).” – Lenford Dacosta, fisher and coral gardener”
A really good story

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Spectacular A. prolifera in Belize 16Apr2020

Photo and more to be viewed on Fragments of Hope, Belize

From Fragments of Hope, Belize Facebook page

From About for Fragments of Hope, Belize

To re-seed devastated reefs with genetically robust, diverse and resilient corals that will mature to spawning age/size, and at the same time begin to understand the biology and mechanisms of coral bleaching (i.e. the role of the coral host versus its symbiotic algae, the zooxanthellae when it comes to resiting or recovering from bleaching events)

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Stony coral tissue loss disease heading towards Antilles 9Jul2019

A healthy colony of Porites porites on the Vauxhall reef, Barbados. P. porites is one of the species found susceptible to stony coral disease in Florida

Stony coral tissue loss disease, first reported in Florida in 2014, is moving quickly according to a report in Science News and has reached the US Virgin Islands; view:

A mysterious coral disease is ravaging Caribbean reef
BY CASSIE MARTIN 6:00AM, JULY 9, 2019 on Science News

It is also affecting deeper water corals:

Holstein is using ocean current data and other factors to forecast where the disease might show up next. Early results suggest that another U.S. Caribbean territory, Puerto Rico, should be worried. Divers in May confirmed that the outbreak is inching toward the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, with star corals about 17 kilometers offshore and 40 meters deep already pocked with white lesions, says Tyler Smith, who oversees the reef monitoring program at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas.
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Good News 1Feb2019: Staghorn coral Acropora cervicornis in Reef Front of Vauxhall Reef, Barbados 1Feb2019

Acropora cervicornis Feb 1, 2019

In March of 2015 I observed Acropora cervicornis in a small area on the Reef Front of the Vauxhall Reef.

According to a report by R. MacLean and H.A. Oxenford on surveys of Acroporoids on the west coast of Barbados in the summer of 2015, “although no A. cervicornis colonies were found on the fringing reefs surveyed in this study, several colonies are known to exist in the deeper patch reef area immediately seaward of some of the fringing reefs (e.g. Vauxhall reef, see annotated photographs of D. Patriquin at:
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Good News 1Feb2019: Clusters of Diadema on reef front, Barbados 1Feb2019

Photo Jan 31, 2019

Yesterday, I snorkelled the reef front area off of Holetown. As well as funding some quite healthy coral communities at about 15-20 ft depth, I found clusters of the black sea urchin Diadema antillarum at one spot.

The GPS on my camera wasn’t working well. The approximate location is shown below.
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