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IMA > News
Polluted Nutrients

When Nutrients Become Pollution

Growing up in a Caribbean household one will often hear the phrase ‘too much of a good thing, is a bad thing.’ Children have also been encouraged to eat things that may taste particularly bad, with the promise that it is good for them. As we gets older, we find ourselves examining nutrition labels and slowly we come to the realisation that our parents were right! So now when one hears the word ‘nutrient’, surely, you may be tempted to think, we can’t have too much of it, not so? The term Nutrient typically refers to a substance or ingredient that promotes growth, provides energy,...

Tobago’s reefs are on their third consecutive year of coral bleaching

Trinidad and Tobago continue to be under Bleaching Alert Level Two for the period of October 23 for up to four weeks. Tobago’s reefs are now experiencing coral bleaching for the third consecutive year. The IMA Team has been observing pale and partially bleached corals in Charlotteville, northeast Tobago. We have also received reports of coral bleaching on many reefs in southwest Tobago, including Buccoo Reef, Store Bay Reef, Flying Reef and Mt Irvine Reef. Bleaching is occurring across many species – brain corals, mountainous star corals, staghorn corals, fire corals and even the soft corals. Staghorn Bleaching in Buccoo, Tobago What is coral bleaching? Corals form...

Seagrasses

Blue Carbon is no reason to feel blue

Have you ever described yourself or someone else as “feeling blue”? In that case you are using a phrase coined from a custom among many old deepwater sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to homeport. I would like to think that this is true because it perfectly fits my narrative but given that the internet source was quite dubious it probably isn’t.  Another source indicated that the use of the colour blue to mean sadness goes all the...

Oasis and Coral Reefs

What does an oasis and a coral reef have in common?

No, this is not the start of a bad joke or a riddle (although the obvious answer is probably water) but have you ever wondered how oases occur in the desert? How can these areas flush with trees and shrubs, teeming with life occur in the barren arid desert environments? If you haven’t, then take a moment to ponder, try it. It is probably not what you think. While there are many different factors that give rise to the creation of desert oases, one of them might be very surprising. It begins with organisms not visible to the naked eye.   Microbes in Israel’s Negev desert...

GPS equipment test

Shifts Along Our Sandy Shores

Beaches remain the main attraction of tourists to the Greater Caribbean. For small island nation states, tourism accounts for an average of 25% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is the fastest growing sector of their economies. About 115 million people live around the Caribbean Sea’s coastline, and every year, another 20 million people come to visit. This rapid growth in the tourism sector and its associated activity on beaches together with climate change impacts are leading to greater erosion on Caribbean beaches and shorelines. This is damaging the infrastructure and shorelines of coastal communities, depleting important tourism resources, and negatively impacting the...

The Marine Resilience Initiative, Tobago (Pilot Project)

Tobago waters are rich in marine biodiversity, home to unique and interconnected ecosystems, such as the Buccoo coral reef - Bon Accord Lagoon Complex made up of seagrass and mangroves. Most of Tobago’s Caribbean coast is fringed by coral reefs extending to the northeast Tobago, UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve. For over ten years, the Institute of Marine Affairs has been monitoring the health of coral reefs and seagrasses around Tobago. Unfortunately, we have observed several disturbance events have affected Tobago’s marine ecosystems resulting in significant mortality / dieback of critical coral reefs and seagrass beds. Coral reef monitoring conducted by IMA has...

Artisanal fishing boats at San Fernando

International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (IYAFA2022): SMALL IN SCALE, BUT BIG IN VALUE

“Our small actions can have big impacts, like a ripple effect.”  Small-scale fishing and aquaculture can bring food to one family and provides healthy nutrition to millions more.  It brings value to all. Small-scale fishers and farmers also know what it means to preserve the balance in our ecosystems.  But our livelihoods are at risk, now more than ever, we need to be resilient, include us in decisions that affect us, and we will adapt and innovate with the changing tide. We may be small scale, but our way of life will make a difference, and keep on spreading like ripples in the water”.  These...

Mangrove Trinidad and Tobago - Red mangrove

Taking time to appreciate our Mangrove Forests

Our coastlines, especially the Gulf of Paria, were once lined with large trees with  entangled roots beaming with wildlife, where our grandfathers and fathers hunted crabs to put in the Sunday callaloo, and for oysters sold in spicy sauce around the Queen Parks Savannah.  Back then we did not fully understand he importance of these coastal forests, so as much as 50 % were cleared to build houses, businesses and ports. What are you talking about, you may ask? It’s our mangrove forests. Mangrove forests are spectacular and prolific ecosystems that are usually located on the boundary between land and sea.  Mangrove trees are salt-tolerant trees, also called...

A view from the hill: The impacts of sedimentation on the coastal environment

If you have the opportunity to go to San Fernando Hill or the Lady Young Road in Port of Spain, you can have an unobstructed panoramic view of the Gulf of Paria and its environs. Viewing the coast from these vantage points gives you another perspective of human impacts on the coastal environment. Our impact is very evident after heavy rainfall when you look out only to see a large brown plume of sediment moving across the blue waters. Sediment is washed down from hillsides and plains into drains and rivers, eventually reaching the sea. The magnitude of these plumes is unknown for the...

1. French Grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum Schooling reef fish get their name from the grunting noise they make by grinding their teeth together as a form of communication. Photography by Jonathan Gomez

World Oceans Day 2022 – Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever’ Jacques Cousteau The economic and social value of the ocean to individual communities and societies is incalculable.  It is where we work, we harvest food, we pray and we play. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind.” He described this phenomenon as “a mild meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment,” which is triggered when we’re in or near water. Mathew White, an environmental psychologist who studied how living near...