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IMA > 2018 > April (Page 2)

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ‘Causes and Impacts’

The Earth has witnessed a 30% rise in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution in the middle of the 18th century. This is the highest that atmospheric carbon dioxide has been in at least 400,000 years. This is primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels and large scale animal farming, which has created a rapid flux of additional carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. One main property of these gases is their ability to retain heat. Therefore, the more these gases are pumped out, the more heat is retained in the atmosphere resulting in an...

Leaving Just Our Footprints in the Sand: Tackling Coastal Debris and Plastic Polluted Oceans

Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with a diversity of landforms such as rolling hills, expansive flood plains, mountains and rocky cliffs. However, one of the most popular physical features that we regularly enjoy is our sandy beaches. Beaches are formed from a build-up of loose sediments, usually sand or silt along a body of water. Sediments can settle from crashing waves, gusts of wind and streams of water. Sandy beaches are great tourist attractions, offering spaces for business, social events and personal leisure. They are important areas of recreation. However, during recreational usage, people may leave behind more than their footprints, sometimes unintentionally. At...

Ballast water – THE TRAVELLING SEA!

Trinidad and Tobago’s coastal waters are rich in both renewable and non-renewable natural resources. These resources play a very important role in the economic growth of the nation by supplying food (fish and shell-fish) and livelihoods options via the fishing, oil, gas and the tourism sectors. All of these industries are dependent on the use of vessels for transport, and ports and marinas for docking facilities. Since the 19th century, ships have been using ballast water for safety, stability, thrust and maneuverability, depending on the quantity of cargo being transported; as well as to compensate loss of fuel weight, water consumption, and to maintain...

Bait Dump vs Fishkill in Chaguaramas

The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) recently conducted an investigation into a reported fishkill at the Power Boats Marina in Chaguaramas on the 10th and 19th of May, 2017. Based on interviews, observations, and our knowledge of fishing practices in Trinidad and Tobago, it was concluded that this was a bait dump and NOT a fishkill. Whilst one of our main reasons was that there was an eyewitness that saw the fish being dumped, the physical and biological observations recorded were also clearly characteristic of a dump. Some of these characteristics and observations were: (1)The majority (99%) of dead fish were baitfish (sardines and herrings) Baitfish...

Status of mangrove forests in Trinidad and Tobago

This project was done in collaboration with Dr. Rahanna Juman, head of the Environmental Research Programme (ERP). The goal of the project was to establish a baseline for mangrove forests in Trinidad and Tobago from which to predict the response to sea level rise and climate changes.  High resolution IKONOS satellite imagery together with extensive ground surveys were used to map all of the mangroves around Trinidad and Tobago. GIS software was used to develop the maps and give an estimate of the total square area of mangrove existing in the region. The project was completed at the end of 2009.  The results are...

Faded brilliance – the loss of corals to disease

On my first dive in Tobago a few years ago, I was stunned by the beauty of the coral reef; the colours of the stony corals and sponges, the gorgonians swishing with the waves and the multitude of playful fish careening about. After the dive, I was happily chatted away by the older divers who matter-of-factly told me that the reef I had seen that day was nothing compared to what it was like a few years before. Back then I was told, the reefs were covered in twice as much coral. So what happened to our coral reefs? Well a few things happened,...