[Coral-List] Healthiest Caribbean reefs

Steve.Gittings Steve.Gittings at noaa.gov
Sat Oct 22 10:25:47 EDT 2011

The Flower Gardens should be seriously considered.  Percent cover on the 
banks has remained above 50% since the first surveys were conducted in 
the early 1970s.  Coral growth rates have also remained the same.  The 
reefs have experienced a few changes over the years, such as occasional 
bleaching and the /Diadema /die-off, and a few incidents of anchoring or 
other human activities that cause some mechanical damage.  But none of 
these appear to have affected coral, algae, or other ecosystem 
components in a significant way.  And while coral diversity is not as 
high as other western Atlantic reefs (about a third of the known hard 
corals exist there and no gorgonians on the reef cap), the Flower 
Gardens is a place where we are happy to say that it would seem "nature 
is still in charge."

The first lionfish were seen at the Flower Gardens this past year (just 
a few), so you'd better hurry!  Great story line though.


On 10/21/2011 12:43 PM, Amber Maitland wrote:
> Hello coral reef experts,
> I'm a researcher for a 3-year documentary film project, and as part of our story, we'd like to film a healthy and thriving coral reef in the Caribbean / Gulf of Mexico / Western Atlantic.
> My producer is interested in particular in Cuba (SE; Cayo Largo), Dominican Republic, and/or Puerto Rico (Desecheo? Mona Island?). However, I have been recommended Bonaire, Turks&  Caicos, San Andres/Providence Islands, and the Cayman Islands.
> Do you have any advice or observations with comparisons of the places above? Should the Bay Islands be added to that list? Or Flower Garden Banks NMS?
> Many thanks in advance for your advice and time,
> Best wishes,
> Amber Maitland
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