“TRADEWINDS: Canadian Navy goes underwater in reef research dive” – Barbados Today 12May2024

Elon Cadogon photographs a bleaching survivor on Vauxhall Reef on Mar 2, 2024 (a CORALL exercise)

An article in Barbados Today highlights “a joint exercise between the non-profit Coral Reef Restoration Alliance (CORALL) Barbados and the Canadian Armed Forces” to map coral reefs on the West Coast of Barbabdos. Dr Elon Cadogan is the scientific leader for the “Tradewinds Dive Track exercise”. Read more on Barbados today.

UPDATE May 14, 2024. There was also an item in the Nation News, print ed. for May 12, 204: “Official eyeing coral bleaching”. From the text:

Concerned environmental specialists, researchers and military officials are keeping a close eye on the magnitude of coral bleaching in Barbados. They are encouraging locals and tourism stakeholders to join in te fight to protect and preserve marine life. During the Descend to defend our Reefs dive exercise at Vauxhall beach, St. James Friday, field lead with Coral Reef restoration Alliance (CORALL) Dr. Elon Cadogan explained how coral bleaching, a world wide issue, could impact the island…Descent to Defend Our Reefs is a two-day collaborative climate change effort which saw the participants cover 400,000 square meters from Vauxhall to Folkestone Beach…

What a great initiative!

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AGRRA on New Caribbean Coral Restoration Efforts 3May2024

“New Caribbean Coral Restoration Efforts” was the subject of the Caribbean Cooperation Team Network Meeting on April 8, 2024.

A webinar recording of the full proceedings is now available, courtesy of AGRRA (Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment).

From a notice just received:

The focus of the April Caribbean Cooperation Team (CCT) meeting was to share updates on new coral reef rescue and recovery efforts in the Caribbean with funding from the G20’s new Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP). After an introduction to CORDAP, representatives described the Caribbean programs funded by CORDAP grants this year. Continue reading
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“Corals in danger, coastal protection chief warns” – Barbados Today 17Apr2024

“Barbados’ coral reefs are in serious trouble, even as officials try to restore their health and protect them from a deadly heat wave that has decimated them worldwide.

“Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) Leo Brewster said his department in collaboration with the University of the West Indies has been closely monitoring the situation through a just-ended five-year coral reef survey.”

Coral bleaching, stony coral tissue loss disease, and groundwater pollution are cited as factors threatening coral health in Barbados.

Read more in Barbados Today

Posted in Extreme Warming/Coral Bleaching, Reef Health, SCTLD | Leave a comment

Brain corals at Bath on Barbados east coast appear free of disease 31Mar2024

Brain coral, Pseudodiploria clivosa, in the “Platform Lagoon” at Bath on Mar 28, 2024

With the collaboration of Dr. Elon Cadogan of CORALL Barbados, on Mar 28, 2024, I made a brief visit to Bath around the Low Tide when wave action is minimal and underwater visibility highest. One objective I had was  to examine the large brain corals in the “Platform Lagoon” to see if they had been affected by Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease which ravaged corals on the west coast beginning circa Nov 2022.

I postulated that as this site is flushed continuously with Atlantic ocean water coming from the east and should be comparatively free of water from other islands*, the corals would be SCTLD-free.
*While the general circulation is east to west, there is much greater chance of mixing with Caribbean water in the lee of the island, e.g., from flushing of bilges of large vessels in Bridgetown harbour – see Rosenau et al., 2021 – than on the east, Atlantic coast.

Read more

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Healthy Pillar Coral colony on Vauxhall Reef 23Mar2024

Pillar Coral in Reef Front zone of Vauxhall Reef, Mar 22, 2024. Pillar Coral in Reef fron zone of Vauxhall Reef, Mar 22, 2024. The species is considered Critically Endangered (U.S.)

It’s a rare day when I spend time at Vauxhall Reef and don’t find “something new” or get an especially good photo of a species I have been chasing for a while.

Today’s (Mar 22, 2024) find was an entirely healthy colony of Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus) in the Reef Front zone.

There were a dozen plus healthy colonies of Pillar coral at Vauxhall prior to the arrival of SCTLD in 2023. Pillar coral is considered by AGGRA to be Highly Susceptible to SCTLD, and it seemed odd in early 2023 that these colonies remained healthy while there were seemingly many corals with SCTLD. However, all colonies of Pillar Coral I have seen to date this year (2024)  were entirely or mostly dead. So my secret hope that perhaps the pillar corals at Vauxhall had qualities, e.g. related to their associated microbes, that made them resistant to SCTLD was no more.

But now I can hope that there is something special about this one specimen! I will surely keep an eye on it, also on new growth on colonies killed by SCTLD
READ MORE

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First diseased P.clivosa  on Reef Flat at Vauxhall observed 10Mar2024

Healthy P. clivosa on the Reef Flat, Jan 15, 2024. Click on images for larger versions. More Pics

Large mounds of Pseudodiploria clivosa are common on the Reef Flat and Diploria-Palytoa zones at Vauxhall and can assume some quite striking, even majestic, forms.

I had not seen diseased Pseudodiploria clivosa amongst these big specimens  at Vauxhall until I viewed this large specimen on the Reef Flat  on Mar 10, 2024. It’s a large specimen,  located about 1/3rd of the distance out from shore to the Reef Crest area. It has  symptoms of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (view AGGRA Card).

Read More

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On Vauxhall Reef (Barbados) Millepora complanata but not M. alcicornis succumb to 2023 coral bleaching

Some good news: Millepora alcicornis on Vauxhall Reef was largely unaffected by the extreme warming events in the fall of 2023

Tom Goreau cited the Acropora and Millepora species as tho reef-building species most affected by extreme warming in the fall of 2023.

Both the “true” coral A prolifera and the coral-like hydrozoan  M. complanata occur, with the colonial  zoanthid  Palythoa caribeana, in the “A. prolifera Mother Colony Complex” at Vauxhall.

Both A prolifera and M. complanata were uniformly drab and covered with epiphytic growth when I viewed the colony on Jan 12, 2023, in sharp contrast to the vibrant colours of a year earlier (Palythoa caribeana was ‘normal’ in both years)  READ MORE

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Keep an eye out in Barbados for invasive “stoloniferous fire coral” 23Feb2024

Unomia solonifera. Source: Comité Científico FVAS on iNaturalist

As if Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease which took off in Barbados in 2023, followed by widespread coral bleaching associated with extreme warming  weren’t enough to challenge our reefs, now marine biologists in the Caribbean are on the lookout for an invasive soft coral originating from the Indo-Pacific.

It is Unomia stolonifera, commonly known as “stoloniferous fire coral”. It will grow over any hard substrate. Currently, it is socked in on reefs and seagrass beds on the northeastern coast of Venezuela, Southeastern Caribbean Sea. It is believed that Unomia stolonifera was introduced via the aquarium trade in the early 2000s.  It was first sighted in Venezuela at Valle Seco in 2007. Subsequently “the population has exploded along Venezuela’s coastline and has now been observed spreading east and west into the Caribbean Sea.” (icriforum.org, June 12, 2023) Continue reading

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Complete dieback of Acropora prolifera (hybrid acroporoid coral) on Vauxhall Reef, Barbados in 2023 16Feb2024

Click on images for larger versions

The photos at left illustrate two A colonies by a large Diploria clivosa on the Reef Flat at Vauxhall. In the top photo, taken on Mar. 30, 2023, both colonies are entirely healthy.

In the bottom photo, taken on Jan 15, 2024, the two colonies are apparently totally dead and have a layer of fine algae and silt on them, much like the adjacent old coral bedrock.

There were no signs of any living tissue

On Jan 15, 2024,  I viewed 15 individual colonies in the Reef Flat Zone, 4 in the Diploria-Palythoa zone, and the “mother Colony” in the Reef Crest zone. All had the same appearance.

Evidently, there was 100% mortality or close to 100% of A. prolifera at Vauxhall between these two dates. It was likely associated with one or more of the extreme warming events in 2023.

Read More

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Sargassum outlook Jan 1, 2024 – Apr 1, 2024: “mild to moderate ” 5Jan2024

See also Coral Bleaching page,
re: high water temperatures/
coral bleaching summer-fall 2023
—————

Extracts from the latest Sargassum Sub-regional Outlook Bulletin:

“Synopsis: Sargassum abundance in the Central Atlantic is increasing and approaching the Caribbean region.”

“General outlook: Interests in the Eastern Caribbean should expect mild influxes during January and February and a resurgence to moderate levels during March.” Continue reading

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