Thursday, December 3, 2009

Surveys of Protected Diving Areas underway

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.