Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bountiful Patch Reefs off North Shore


Within a couple of km of North Shore, in what many folks consider to be unappealing waters, are found hundreds for finger corals reefs that are actually thriving with life. These patch reefs, paradoxically fairly near both land and one of the large ship channels that cuts across the lagoon, are characterised by high coral cover and a high number of coral species.

Turbidity (suspended sediments) are also high in this area though, and head corals show signs of stress from constant smothering by sand. The finger corals (comprising 5 species of the genera Madracis and Oculina) provide refuge to thousands of tomtate (white) grunts, which in turn provide food for gray snappers and other predatory fish.

BREAM surveys have shown that many other species of fish also rely on these locally under-appreciated reefs as juvenile habitat, indicating the vital role these coral reefs play in maintaining the resilience of Bermuda's fish stocks.

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