Tune in to NPR station WGCU (Southwest Florida) on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at noon Eastern/9am Pacific. Dr. David E. Guggenheim, the “Ocean Doctor,” will be part of a radio discussion on “Gulf Coast Live,” for a program focused on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and specifically, the fact that Cuba is now rapidly pursuing the development of its oil resources in the Gulf following the discovery of a major oil reserve there in 2004. Read more
Proyecto Costa Noroccidental research team aboard Cuban research vessel Boca del Toro, second expedition
The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (CIM) [Centro de Investigaciones Marinas] are leading a collaborative effort, Proyecto Costa Noroccidental [Project of the Northwest Coast], a comprehensive multi-year research and conservation program for Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico coast. Dr. David E. Guggenheim, president of 1planet1ocean, is a member of HRI’s Advisory Council and also serves as HRI’s Cuba Programs Manager and is co-principal investigator of the project with Dr. Gaspar González Sansón of CIM. Read more
Mysteries of Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico Waters
Proyecto Costa Noroccidental (Project of the Northwest Coast) — a project of the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas: CIM) and The Ocean Foundation in Washington, DC — explores the most unknown corner of the Gulf of Mexico: Cuba’s northwest coastal waters. The next leg of the expedition is scheduled to depart Havana on September 5, 2009.
It is often said that those 90 miles of open water south of the Florida Keys — the Straits of Florida — separate Cuba and the USA. Like a hand-drawn blue borderline, the Straits are often invoked as a symbol of the 50-year-old Cold War that has frozen our two countries so tantalizingly close, yet so tragically far apart. But to the sea turtles, sharks, lobster, whales and other sea life, those same 90 miles of blue unite our countries with racing blue currents, unseen underwater pathways, and a web of colorful life that defies the perceptions of so many of the Gulf of Mexico, who know it only as a hot, muddy cauldron that spawns hurricanes and oil platforms. Cuba’s northwest coast – the verdant Pinar del Río province, home to Cuba’s legendary cigars — is the least-developed coastal region of Cuba. But as Cuba’s tourism trade continues to develop and as Cuba’s fledgling offshore oil development expands into the Gulf, it is hoped that the insights from this joint research will help to guide the hand of such development so that some of Cuba’s most precious assets, its coral reefs, will be spared the fate they have seen elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The majority of Cuba’s reefs are remarkably healthy, a fact made even more striking given that just 90 miles to the north, in the Florida Keys, nearly half the reef system has died. For that reason, and because of its unique history and geography, Cuba may hold important clues for coral reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean and perhaps around the world.
This project is providing the first-ever comprehensive study of Cuba’s northwestern waters and providing research opportunities for Cuba’s next generation of marine scientists — nearly 20 have based their Masters and Ph.D. research on this project.
Note: ExpeditionCam will not be functioning offshore
Note: While offshore, position will be updated via SPOT satellite device
Note: While offshore, updates will be via SPOT satellite only
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