[Coral-List] Coral Bleaching in Barbados

Fabian Hinds fhinds at coastal.gov.bb
Mon Sep 19 14:58:24 EDT 2005

Dear Coral-list,

Following our inspection of the reefs in the north of the island, we conducted at least 5 reconnaissance dives on the south coast of the island.  A greater diversity of species were found to have undergone bleaching.  These were as follows:

  1.. Mussa angulosa
  2.. Millepora complanata
  3.. Millepora alcicornis
  4.. Erythropodium caribaeorum
  5.. Plexaurella sp. (Split-pore sea rod)
  6.. Porites porites
  7.. Dendrogyra cylindrus
  8.. Montastraea annularis
  9.. Montastraea faveolata
  10.. Montastraea cavernosa
  11.. Porites astreoides
  12.. Siderastrea siderea
  13.. Diplora strigosa
  14.. Diplora labyrinthiformis
  15.. Meandrina meandrites
  16.. Agaricia fragilis
  17.. Palythoa caribaeorum
Our office has also been receiving reports from fishermen and by the Fisheries Division that a number of spotted moray eels have been washing up onto the beach in some areas.  I have only seen one recently dead moray on the reef during my last dive.  However, I can't say that I actually saw any live one either.  That issue has to be assess further. I am wondering if the elevated temperatures were reducing dissolved oxygen, hence suffocating the morays.  Likewise, reports have been made that the white sea egg (Tripneustes ventricosus) has been going through a mortality event of their own.  Spines have been reported to be falling off etc.  Our Fisheries Division is in the process of investigating.

Note to NOAA Coral Reef Watch Program
The observed bleaching has been so wide-spread that almost any coordinate would do.  However, below are the coordinates for 4 of 35 dive sites for which we maintain moorings for dive boats:
  a.. Maycocks Reef - N 13 17'32.8"  W 059 39'47.5"  ( most northern buoy on west coast)
  b.. Spawnee           - N 13 13'38.4"  W 059 39'08.5"  (west coast)
  c.. Old Fort            - N 13 04'39.3"  W 059 36'55.2" (South coast)
  d.. Pieces of Eight   - N 13 04'18.2"  W 059 35'48.5" (south coast)
I will try to compile a list of the other sites for you.

Unfortunately, we are unable to conduct light measurements at this time. 

Yes, we have seen bleaching in octocorals and zoanthids (See list above).

Bleaching has been observed down to depths of 110ft  on the south coast.  We have assembled a team to begin monitoring the bleaching event.  Temperature, and salinity data is also being retrieved for the last 4 months.

Best regards,

Fabian Hinds
Marine Biologist (Ag)
Coastal Zone Management Unit
Phone: 228-5950/51/52
Fax: 228-5956

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