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Home > Activities > Ecosystems management > GCRMN project > New GCRMN-Caribbean Coral reef monitoring sites in Sint Maarten and (...)

New GCRMN-Caribbean Coral reef monitoring sites in Sint Maarten and Cuba!

The GCRMN-Caribbean effort is increasing thanks to our great partners from Cuba and Sint Maarten! Following up Jamaica’s capacity-building training workshop , coral reef experts from The Center for Marine Research (CIM) of the University of Havana and Sint Maarten Nature Foundation (SMNF) started implementing the GCRMN-Carribean Guidelines at several sites on their islands !

AUGUST 2016, IN SINT MAARTEN…

Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern, project officer and marine Park ranger and Tadzio Bervoets, director, successfully conducted their first GCRMN-Caribbean monitoring session in 7 sites of the Sint Maarten Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area.
Building on the training received during Jamaica’s workshop, they put into practice the advices of the GCRMN-Caribbean trainers to efficiently collect data on the main elements of the coral reef ecosystem described by the GCRMN-Caribbean guidelines, using photoquadrats methods and in-situ observations.

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Coral Reef Monitoring in Sint Maarten, August 2016 - St Maarten Nature Foundation - PhotoCredits: Tadzio Bervoets

Melanie reported that ’The guidelines cover many aspect of reef monitoring in an effective method, we managed with a dedicated team to apply these guidelines successfully in our reef monitoring program. The St Maarten Nature Foundation monitored 7 sites located in our Marine Park and along the coast, and will continue monitoring these sites yearly. We strongly recommend other Caribbean Island to also use the GCRMN-Caribbean Guidelines into their reef monitoring programs.’ 

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Water Quality assessment Secchi disk - St Maarten Nature Foundation, August 2016 - PhotoCredits : Tadzio Bervoets
Water Quality assessment Secchi disk - St Maarten Nature Foundation, August 2016 - PhotoCredits : Tadzio Bervoets

WHILE IN CUBA…

The Center for Marine Research of the University of Havana in Cuba, in collaboration with the non-governmental non profit American organization Ocean Doctor, has started adapting their coral reef monitoring effort to the GCRMN – Caribbean guidelines, following the training received at Jamaica’s workshop in April 2016. The location selected for this initiative is the Punta Frances Marine protected area, located at the south west of the island Juventud, in Cuba.

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Maps of Punta Francès Marnie Protected Area, Juventud Island, Cuba

The Cuban scientists conducted monitoring at 5 sampling sites located within the Marine Protected Area. During this effort, the divers collected data to assess coral cover, coral reef health, fish abundance, coral reef rugosity, abundance of key invertebrates species and water clarity. Cuban scientists were assisted by volunteers and students, providing training and knowledge transfer for coral reef monitoring. CIM and the Ocean Doctor are planning to conduct the next monitoring session at this location early 2017 and to continue this effort on the long-term, at least twice a year.

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Coral Reef Monitoring - Punta Francès, isla Juventud, Cuba August 2016 - PhotoCredits CIM