Living Oceans Foundation to survey Andros and Abaco Reefs

Posted: 10/02/2011 in all marine news

World Wire – 

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation launches its final mission of coral reef research in the Bahamas, concluding the first year of its ambitious Global Reef Expedition. Having completed research in Cay Sal Bank, Hogsty Reef, and the Inaguas earlier this year, the Foundation now turns to Andros and Abaco islands to study sites that were last surveyed more than a decade ago.

The Global Reef Expedition is the first world-wide mapping and research assessment of coral reefs. The chairman of the Living Oceans Foundation, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, said an expedition of this scale “will greatly assist the world in understanding coral reefs, their health and critical role in the environment. Our research will produce maps of previously uncharted areas and provide management recommendations urgently needed to preserve these valuable ocean resources. We are involving local scientists in all of our research and exploration. ”

Andros contains the longest barrier reef in the Bahamas and the third largest in the world. The Foundation’s science team, joined by Bahamian researchers, will identify the abundance, size, and health of reef building coral species as well as discovering how the reef has recovered from coral bleaching events in 1998.

The Foundation’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Andrew Bruckner, said , “Our research will lead to improvements in existing habitat maps and will help recent efforts to develop a land and sea use plan for the entire island including zoning of sensitive areas.”

The Foundation will survey unstudied sites around the central Abaco islands as well as some that were last surveyed in 1999 which will yield important time-change information. The reefs of central Abaco are near areas of high population density and high user pressure which contrasts sharply with other reefs the Foundation has surveyed in the Bahamas, helping to further understand human impacts on reef health.

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