The underwater milieu disturbed, stressed, but alive

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This coral nursery has been destroyed
This coral nursery has been destroyed

Ocean and the staff of the Réserve had not yet been able to go diving to ascertain the effects of the hurricane on the underwater milieu.

One thing that is certain is that this milieu directly suffered from the effects of Irma, given the intensity of the storm surge and pollution from sediments. Among the expected damage, one can list the tearing up of plant beds, due to the movement of great quantities of sand and silt, as well as sand covering rocky zones and reefs.
The annual check-up of the sea beds was scheduled for right after Irma hit, and will now take place as soon as visibility in the water, which is now limited due to the presence of sediment, makes it possible.
The scientific department already knows that the results will be different than usual, and that the appearance of most sites will have been disturbed: species and mobile individuals displaced — fish, crustaceans, shellfish — as well as the mortality and fragmentation of fixed fauna, such as coral and sponges.
This fragmentation, begun artificially for the creation of nurseries, is not necessarily negative and can give way to the creation of healthy new colonies in a few years time. Another eventual positive consequence is that the strong waves and sand have reduced the surface occupied by algae competing with the coral, which on the other hand risk suffering from the high ocean water temperature at the moment.
When the water hovers at 84°F, the coral risk to expulse the micro algae zooxanthele which feeds them, thus loosing a primary source of nourishment, which translates to a major phenomenon of bleaching of the coral.

The question concerning the presence of debris of all kinds remains suspended for the moment and a project is planned for early November to evaluate the quantities and study the means available to cleanup the underwater milieu.

Cette pépinière de coraux a disparu - This coral nursery has been destroyed

All articles from: Journal-30


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