[Coral-List] Coral bleaching in Tobago

Owen Day Work o.day at buccooreef.org
Thu Oct 13 12:42:14 EDT 2005

Dear all,

Tobago's coral reefs are currently experiencing their worst mass bleaching event for many years possibly ever.  The reefs on the Caribbean coast seem particularly badly affected (70 -90% affected), notably Buccoo Reef, Mt Irvine, Arnos Vale, Culloden, Castara and Englishman's Bay.  The reefs at Speyside and on the Atlantic side do not seem so badly affected from reports from dive operators.   The bleaching seems to be associated with high sea surface temperatures affecting the eastern Caribbean, with temperatures as high as 31 C and 32 C reported  (I have only measured up to 31 C. ). Video surveys are currently underway to determine the extent and severity of the bleaching, and we are planning a larger monitoring programme with the local government and assistance from Coral Cay Conservation (UK).  I have asked dive operators to assist by reporting back to us the extent of the bleaching using the questionnaire from the Global protocol for the Assessment and Monitoring of Coral Bleaching.

I am particularly interested in monitoring individual colonies at various sites to see if survival is correlated with other site specific parameters such as sediment and nutrient pollution.What is the best way to tag coral colonies?  If any of you have suggestions about specific monitoring techniques for bleaching or simple guidelines please let us know.  

Also please let me know about similar events in the region and what other islands are doing.  Thank you.

Best regards


Dr Owen Day
Buccoo Reef Trust
Cowie's Building
Carnbee Junction, 
Auchenskoech Road, Carnbee
Tobago, West Indies
Tel: +1868 635 2000
Fax: +1868 639 7333
e-mail: o.day at buccooreef.org
web: www.buccooreef.org

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