Joint Cuba-USA Expedition Assessing Coral Reef Health
After a series of delays caused by the devastation in Cuba by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, along with numerous logistical issues and, of course, the ever-present challenges of joint Cuba-USA research projects, we’re very excited to report that the research vessel Marina Bella departed from the Hemingway International Marina in Havana late last week and is now on site in our study area in Los Colorados in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters. Click here to see today’s position of the Marina Bella.
Speaking via satellite phone this morning, Patricia Gonz?lez, coral reef scientist from the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas – CIM )told us that all is going well so far. Notably, she mentioned that the team encountered some areas that were severely impacted by the hurricanes, both of which passed directly through the study area off northwestern Cuba.
This comprehensive research program is a collaborative effort of the University of Havana/CIM, The Ocean Foundation, 1planet1ocean, and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies to explore the least-known area of Cuba’s waters in this, the first-ever comprehensive study. Many of Cuba’s coral reefs are still very healthy compared to others around the Caribbean, and the world, and may hold important clues for their conservation. See the latest entry in the Ocean Doctor’s blog, Can Cuba’s Mysteries Help Save the World’s Coral Reefs?
In July, preliminary results of this research effort were presented at the world’s major coral reef science meeting, the International Coral Reef Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale.
We are delighted to announce that The Ocean Foundation is now the fiscal sponsor of the Cuba research program, and has established the Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Fund for its support. We hope you and your colleagues will consider supporting this important work. To contribute, simply access The Ocean Foundation’s secure donation page and indicate that you want to make the donation on behalf of the Cuba Marine Research & Conservation Fund.
Way to Row, Roz !
On September 1, 2008, Roz Savage rowed into Waikiki Yacht Club and completed the first leg of her incredible voyage, rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean. Three months earlier, on May 25, Roz began her voyage rowing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific. She has already completed such a journey across the Atlantic, and is using her adventures to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire others to rise to their own challenges. Our friends at Blue Frontier Campaign, including its founder, David Helvarg, have been keenly engaged in Roz’s journey and working with Roz to make sure that her journey brings strong awareness about the oceans.
As a courtesy to Roz and her many fans around the world, 1planet1ocean has assembled a special tracking page to help you track and participate in Roz’s incredible journey, including a Google Maps/Google Earth map with Roz’s videos and photos and links to her blog posts and Twitter “Tweets.” Please be sure to visit Roz’s web site!
A Word from the OceanDoctor
I missed the boat. My bags are still packed, my regulator is still strewn across the floor, and my passport lies in the ready position. My schedule has been on hold for roughly two months as we tackled one challenge after another — including two devastating hurricanes — to mobilize the current expedition in Cuba. When the green light finally came last week, there wasn’t enough time for me to get to Havana and aboard ship, so I’m relishing the expedition from afar. I am always struck by how many things have to go right to make an expedition happen, and how a few, seemingly insignificant details can conspire to stop everything cold. So I always feel lucky — even if I miss the boat — when an expedition happens.
I’ve focused much of my career on exploration and research because they are the lifeblood of strong conservation policy. And just like my first dives nearly 35 years ago, every time I venture out there’s something new to learn. Textbooks and theory are one thing, but there’s no substitute for firsthand observation. Like landing my sub in the middle of a monstrously large trawl scar at the bottom of the Bering Sea in 1,000 feet of water. Though I certainly knew trawling took place, never had I appreciated the physical scale of the destruction a single trawl could cause.
At this very moment, our Cuban colleagues are gaining new firsthand insights about their remarkable coral reefs, while also taking in the underwater destruction of Gustav and Ike. And several University of Havana students are also aboard, the next generation of Cuban marine scientists, participating in leading edge research.
I think I’ll keep my bags packed. I doubt they’ll sit idle very long…there’s a whole lot out there that needs exploring.
The ExpeditionCasts podcast made its debut from the Bering Sea aboard the Esperanza last summer. Thanks to your positive feedback, the series resumes later this fall, with new features, interviews, and VIDEO, bringing you dispatches from expeditions, research and conservation projects around the world. And remember, you don’t need an iPod to subscribe to a podcast, and it’s always free.
Simply SMS text “subscribe oceans” to 41411 from your mobile phone.
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? Copyright 2008 1planet1ocean. All Rights Reserved.
1planet1ocean is a nonprofit organization, founded to explore, restore and sustain the oceans through strong international partnerships, offering solutions to the problems our oceans face.
Areas of Focus:
Expeditionary research to identify and map important marine ecosystems, especially coral ecosystems, in order to inform strong conservation policies.
Sustainable aquaculture and the promotion of next-generation land-based recirculating aquaculture systems in order to reduce pressure on wild fish stocks and provide a sustainable alternative that supports local communities.
Connecting people to the oceans through outreach, education, videography, photography and leading-edge Web technologies.