Our Valuable Marine Systems
Coral reefs and seagrass meadows are some of the most diverse marine ecosystems. Coral reefs are home to 25% of life in the ocean. Seagrass meadows play an important role in keeping the oceans healthy and providing habitat for a wide array of marine organisms. A number of disturbance events have affected Tobago’s marine ecosystems resulting in significant mortality / dieback of critical coral reefs and seagrass beds. Coral reef monitoring (IMA) has shown up to 50 % coral loss from the 2010 bleaching with minimal recovery to date as a result of pollution and overfishing that limit the natural recovery processes. Seagrass beds in southwest Tobago have also been impacted by land-based pollution, coastal development such as land reclamation, and acute disturbance events, such as sargassum influx. Considering the current climate change projections for island nations, including sea-level rise, increase in extreme storms, global warming and ocean acidification – there is an urgent need to boost the resilience of crucial marine ecosystems to reduce the vulnerability of these ecosystems and dependent communities.