BREAM: The Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Assessment and Mapping Programme
BREAM represents the marine side of the Bermuda Biodiversity Project (BBP) at the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS).
The Bermuda Biodiveristy Project is the umbrella name for all research at the BAMZ facility, including projects conducted in conjunction with other organisations. The BBP goals are to initiate and coordinate a comprehensive local and international effort to catalogue all of Bermuda's flora and fauna, forming the basis for the sustainable use of the Island's living resources.
The BZS was created to enhance the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo for the benefit of Bermuda, its residents and visitors. The Bermuda Government provides continuous support of the physical plant and operational needs, while the BZS, a not-for-profit organisation, supports the development, education and research programmes at BAMZ, and organises special exhibits and activities for the community.
The aims of BREAM are:
A) To support multidisciplinary studies of Bermuda’s coral reef complex in order to enhance the research and management of our unique marine environment. This is accomplished in several ways:
through direct, targeted studies by the resident team to address management/research needs;
by encouraging collaborative ventures with other local or visiting scientists;
by providing logistic support to other researchers;
by securing funds for specific projects to be undertaken either by the resident team, or in collaboration with overseas scientists;
and by sharing all information with the scientific community through databases, publications, workshop and conferences.
B) To properly document and orchestrate data collection, management and sharing through the development of a GIS framework in order to promote improved local, regional and international understanding of coral reef systems. This is accomplished by:
collating all available historical information; by establishing standards for data collection;
by sharing information;
by encouraging the adoption of policies by the Environment Ministry through which local and visiting research studies can be tracked to ensure that a copy of all findings is secured locally.
C) To integrate the resource managers, the scientific community and the users in the management processes to define common goals and to recognize the significant pressures and conflicts that are placed upon our marine environment.
This is accomplished through:specific workshops held locally with representatives of all stakeholder groups, building upon the framework of the Bermuda Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
D) To promote a range of public awareness programmes, with the goal of promoting care of our unique coral reef ecosystem. This is accomplished both directly through:
via the Education team of the Bermuda Zoological Society
We at BREAM are constantly assessing the condition of coral reefs, fishes and other marine animals, so that Bermuda may better manage both global and local environmental impacts to our splendid marine environment.
The propeller of the ship wreck of the "Cristobal Colon", which is now a Buoyed Marine Protected Area for divers near North Rock, Bermuda.
The BREAM team has been busy since mid-October braving high winds and stormy seas to survey all of the Buoyed Dive Site Protected Areas, as part of a project funded by the Department of Conservation Services, the Bermuda Zoological Society, the Atlantic Conservation Partnership, and the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Govt.
We are using the AGRRA protocol to assess the corals, other benthic animals, and fishes, and the REEF fish survey protocol to gain additional information about fishes at each location.
Yellow dots in the map above show the locations of the Buoyed Protected Dive Sites we are presently surveying (click image to enlarge)
This information will be added to the BREAM database which already holds data from over 160 coral reef and seagrass sites. The information we collect will allow us to monitor the ecological health of the reefs and fishes through time in each Dive Site, so we can advise Bermuda Government resource managers on the status of these important natural and cultural protected areas.
BREAM researcher Jessie Hallett, surveying hard and soft corals at the Constellation MPA.
BREAM volunteer Judie Clee, counting fish along a transect line at the Lartington MPA.
A small black grouper watches researchers swim by at the Cristobal Colon ship-wreck MPA.
The Bermuda Zoological Society's R.V. Endurance has been our main dive boat on the MPA survey project, piloted by Capt. Tim Hasselbring . Here it is coming in to dock at the public wharf in Mangrove Bay, Somerset.