Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer has begun at BREAM!


With the water warming up and the sun shining, the BREAM team is gearing up for another busy summer of habitat surveys. Having completed surveys of the 90 foot rim reef terrace, a region that has been rarely studied, using our drop camera, we are now beginning SCUBA surveys of 30 foot and 60 foot rim sites to obtain baseline information of these habitats. Completing these surveys will complement the surveys BREAM has already done in the Lagoon in order to determine the distribution and health of fish and coral populations, find biodiversity hotspots, and help provide information that will be necessary for spatial management of our reefs. To help us accomplish this goal, we have two new interns working with us this summer.

Taylor Gorham is a Bermudian intern entering her third year at McGill University in Canada, studying Marine Biology. Mollie Sinnott is joining us from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where she is studying Biology. Both are excited to learn about coral reefs and marine conservation, and are welcome additions to the BREAM team!

If anyone is ever interested in volunteering or interning with us, please contact us!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mesophotic reef surveys completed!

Yellow dots indicate locations of deep reef survey sites assessed over the past month by the BREAM team.
 [Click on the map for a high-resolution version]

On Wednesday June 2nd the BREAM team completed the planned video assessment of 25 reef sites located at 90ft depth (with some transects on steep terrain spanning 80-120ft depths). Sites were surveyed with a video drop camera array (see past post), with a target of 500m of sea floor surface filmed per site. Downward facing high-definition 1080 video cameras filmed coral and other attached biota, while forward facing cameras filmed the fish community.

The research was carried out on the RV Endurance, piloted by Capt. Tim Hasselbring. The BREAM team was assisted by the volunteers Gil Nolan, Alison Copeland, Teddy Gosling and Lynn Wolf, and by intern Taylor Gorham.

The project is one of four components funded by the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme, and was supported by the Department of Conservation Services, Department of Environmental Protection, the Bermuda Zoological Society, the Atlantic Conservation Partnership and the Stempel Foundation. The information gathered will become part of the BREAM marine biodiversity and GIS databases at the BAMZ Natural History Museum and will be used to inform and guide marine resource management practices and scientific research.

We are training our Stempel-funded and ACP-funded student interns Taylor Gorham and Mollie Sinnott this week, and then progress on to the 10m (30ft) and 20m (60ft) reef surveys, which we will do on SCUBA using a modified version of the AGRRA protocol.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy World Oceans Day!

A locally-rare Porites porites hard coral colony, photographed growing at 3-ft depth along the shoreline of one of the Great Sound islands during a BREAM biological diversity assessment survey.
[click on the photo for a desk-top quality image]
Photo credit: Thad Murdoch - 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fisheries Public Meetings


The Ministry of Environment and Sports, Department of Environmental Protection – Marine Resources Section will hold public meetings to discuss the recently released Strategy for the Sustainable Use of Bermuda’s Living Marine Resources.

All meetings will be held in the Jack King Building in the Botanical Gardens starting at 7 p.m. and will be on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 8 2010: Recreational Anglers Clubs

Wednesday, June 9, 2010: Lobster Divers and Spearfishers

Thursday, June 10, 2010: Recreational line fishers

Tuesday, June 15, 2010: Commercial Fishermen

Thursday, June 17, 2010: Environmental NGOs

The Strategy for the Sustainable use of Bermuda’s Living Marine Resources is available on the Government portal www.gov.bm under the Environmental Protection website.

For more information e-mail fisheries[at]gov.bm or call 293 5600