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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...

Coastal Erosion

Coastal Issues

ALGAL BLOOMS Algal blooms are observed when microscopic plants or phytoplankton, which are normally found in seawater, rapidly reproduce when environmental conditions are favourable. The blooms have been described as unusual green, pink or red patches of water. The discolouration is due to pigments in the cells of the alga. Algal blooms can cause death to marine life by depleting oxygen levels during decomposition, producing toxins that can poison animals or by clogging of gills. Not all blooms are harmful though and many disappear within a few hours with no fatal effect to marine life. Algal blooms have been reported on all coasts of Trinidad and...

Beach Mining Quarry

Beach Sand Mining / Quarrying

Beach sand mining is prohibited in Trinidad and Tobago but still occurs, especially in Tobago because of the lack of naturally occurring aggregate. Some beach sand, because of its composition, is added to the mortar mixture used for homes and other structures. The practice of beach sand mining however, causes beach erosion; removal of natural beach vegetation; disrupts beach habitats and nesting grounds of marine turtles; increases the impact of waves along the coastline; and leads to saltwater intrusion. ...

Beaches Erosion

Beach Erosion

Erosion of beaches may be both natural and human-induced and is a result of loss of sediment. Natural erosion is caused by the impact of waves. Beaches are dynamic, with normal fluctuations in sediment levels during the course of a year. Typically, there is ‘natural’ erosion during the stormy months (November to April) with recovery during the calmer period (May to October). These systems are described as being in ‘dynamic equilibrium’. Where recovery does not occur or erosion is exacerbated due to human activities, beaches become unstable and shoreline retreat follows. The closure zone is demarcated on its seaward margin by an imaginary line beyond...

Beach Safety

Safety at Beaches

Safety at Beaches The safer months for sea bathing in Trinidad and Tobago are generally from May to October. During this period, except for the occasional storm, the water tends to be calmer. From November to April the sea tends to be rougher. Bathers should take extra care when swimming during these months. On beaches where there are lifeguards, bathers should note the red warning flags denoting danger areas. Red/yellow flags indicate areas where it is safe to bathe. Ask the lifeguard on duty if you are not sure. NEVER bathe alone. Local residents usually know of the occurrence of rip currents and other hazards – ask...