VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Tag archives for Reef
The islands that make up the Lau Group have largely been unexplored. Local Fijian scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Vatuvara Foundation surveyed 35 sites on outer fringing reefs, reef flats, and lagoonal systems in the course of an 8-day expedition looking at five islands in the Northern Lau Group. While last year’s Category 5 Cyclone Winston left behind damaged areas with large boulders and upturned corals, we documented extensive areas of reef that had very little to no damage, where there was a lot of intact structural complexity to reef systems surrounding the islands.
Vatuvara supports healthy populations of several globally threatened species, including the humphead, or Maori, wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus); giant clams (Tridacna species); and a large, prehistoric-looking land crab that rules this island. Coconut, or “robber,” crabs (Birgus latro) can be found roaming the forest floor searching for dropped coconuts, which they crack open with their powerful pincers to feed upon.
Lagoons have always fascinated me. The size, shape, and length of a lagoon – and the number of channels that connect inner lagoonal waters with the open ocean – influence the types of coral communities that form within. Because of the amount of sand in the lagoon that sits between the two islands of Kaibu and Yacata in northern Lau Group, I had fairly minimal expectations about what I might see. But nature has a way of surprising us, even the more seasoned coral ecologists!
On 8 May, 2017, a team of made up of fish and coral experts set off to the untouched waters and lush limestone islands of the Northern Lau Group. Vatuvara Private Islands, along with Vatuvara Foundation have partnered with WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) to conduct marine baseline surveys to assess the health of diverse coral reefs, 12 months after Category 5 Cyclone Winston passed through Fiji caused widescale damage.
This app project is an incredible idea brought to life. There’s a saying “it’s easy to talk about conservation with a full stomach”.
The future of coral reefs depends on the response and adaptation of corals to rising ocean temperatures. Finding reefs that serve as climate refuges and managing them globally is one of the highest priorities for action. To achieve that goal will require funding reef science beyond the borders of wealthy countries and prioritizing the monitoring and reporting of coral reefs around the world.
We knew the eye of Cyclone Winston passed over Ra, destroying up to 90 percent of people’s homes throughout the province while churning up the sea in its path. So we were expecting some damage to the reefs. Heading out to our first dive site, we saw in the distance Vatu-i-Ra – an island of cultural and historical importance to the village of Nasau and home to nine species of breeding seabirds. With more than 20,000 pairs of breeding Black Noddies (Anous tenuirostris), the island is recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.
In a dramatic twist to the typical fishing tournament, this friendly competition among the four countries sharing the Mesoamerican reef (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico) rewards international players who catch less fish and protect more coral reefs.
A report card from iLCP Partner Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, for the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere – the Mesoamerican reef flanking the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras – gives hope that it may earn this year’s award for “most improved,” or perhaps “happiest fish.”
There’s a growing trend among scuba divers in the Caribbean: they’re on the hunt for something tasty… Last month, the Glass Goby (Coryphopterus hyalinus) suffered a change in status on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Previously considered of Least Concern to conservationists, this reef-dwelling fish is now listed as Vulnerable. And it isn’t alone.…
Written by Alison Barrat and Andy Bruckner On a scientific expedition to Palau this January we saw thriving coral reefs that contained many species of large, healthy corals, and only a few miles away we found desolate looking reefs that had virtually no coral at all. Our science team recorded conditions that were optimal for…
The coral reefs of Palau hold approximately 400 species of hard corals, 300 species of soft corals, and 1400 species of reef fish. Palau is internationally renown for its beautiful landscapes and seascapes as well as its biological significance to the environment. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation undertook its third expedition with the International League of Conservation Photographers in this fabled archipelago, working with iLCP Fellow Keith Ellenbogen.
By Stuart Campbell and Nils Krueck
The Forgotten Islands occupy a region in the southeastern Indonesian province of Maluku, a sparsely-populated area covering about 50,000 square kilometers that includes a vast expanse of coral reefs. As the region’s name suggests, not much is known about these reefs and their associated fisheries. One important reason for this is that for much of the year the seas are wild and unable to be accessed. Another reason is that Maluku’s Forgotten Islands support around 70,000 people who practice traditional customs that hark back to before the conversion of communities to Christianity. These customs include the guarding of marine resources against occasional visitors, such as nomadic fishers from central Indonesia
This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by Jürgen Freund, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is circumnavigating…
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation conducts scientific surveys on coral reefs around the world to determine the health and resilience of the reef. The primary scientific goals of the Expeditions are to map and characterize coral reef ecosystems, identify their current status and major threats, and examine factors that enhance their ability to resist, survive and recover from major disturbance events like bleaching, cyclone damage, or Crown of Thorns outbreaks. iLCP Fellow Jürgen Freund documents an expedition to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef.