Seeking environmental information...

Ursula Keuper-Bennett howzit at
Fri Jun 12 20:18:42 EDT 1998

Hi Coral Researchers,

Hope you are well.  

I am a layperson who is fortunate enough to dive with the same group of sea
turtles every summer at a place called Honokowai, West Maui.  In just two
weeks we will see them again.  Some friends we have known all the way back
to 1989-90.  These include Kaula ("The Seer") who we first sighted in 1989,
and Nui ("Big"), Aikane ("Friendly"), Tutu ("grandmother") all from 1990.  

It turned out Tutu was a bit of a misnomer.  She only LOOKED old!  Since
1990 we has made three nesting migrations.  She is one of four tagged
females we have come to know.  When any of these four turtles aren't
sighted after two weeks we ask the National Marine Fisheries Service where
they put them.

We are reassured by this agency the ladies are in fact nesting at the
French Frigate Shoals.  Over the ten summers we have dived at our location
we have identified about 250 turtles.  About 75% of these were sick with a
disease called fibropapilloma.

Of the turtles we regard as "regulars" the prevalence jumps to 90%.

I hope this establishes my reason for hanging around your CORAL-L mailing
list.  I believe the high prevalence of disease at our dive site is the
result of environmental conditions there.  

Just recently I read a paper about fibropapilloma in Indonesia.  Turtles
captured from two places tended to have higher incidence of this disease.
The first, Jakarta I don't have to ask about.  

Jakarta Bay is like the poster child of reef degradation.

The other place mentioned was Surabaya (112' to 115'E, 6' to 8'S).  I tried
surfing the Net for information and have a pretty good idea of general
conditions of reefs around Indonesia.

("Approximately 60% of Indonesia's population lives in coastal areas. Their
impact on the marine ecosystem derives from both the removal of resources
and the introduction of increasing quantities of sewage and industrial

 Major Indonesian marine resource management issues include the growth in
mining of coral reefs and the over exploitation of living coral sites; the
increase in phosphate, nitrate and sediment loading of marine estuaries from
upstream intensive paddy cultivation;")

What I need now is information about the corals and reefs around Surabaya

I would appreciate any environmental information you can provide or email
addressed of the researchers studying this area.

Many thanks
              ^               Ursula Keuper-Bennett
             0 0              Email: howzit at
    /V^\            /^V\             
  /V   Malama na honu   V\ 
 /                        \

"She is the size, shape and color of a large boulder.
Her shell alone is over a yard long, remarkably smooth
and flecked with small patches of barnacles and a few 
threads of green algae.  For once the common name lacks
the grace of the scientific one.  'Green sea turtle' is
blandly descriptive.   'Chelonia mydas' fairly sings."

          \       /      --Osha Gray Davidson
          /  \ /  \        The Enchanted Braid       
         /__| V |__\    
         Turtle Trax

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