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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...

Seagrasses in Bon Accord Lagoon

Only One Earth

The theme for World Environment Day 2022 asks us to remember that “in the universe are billions of galaxies, in our galaxy are billions of planets, but there is Only One Earth,” the habitat upon which the survival of the human species depends. Since 1974, the observance of World Environment Day serves as a platform for issues such as human over-population, marine pollution, global warming, sustainable consumption, and wildlife crime. This year, the issues are more critical than ever as peoples around the world struggle to bring carbon emissions in line with the prescribed “1.5⁰ C above the pre-industrial average.”    Seagrasses and Mangroves in...

Indian Arrival Day 2022

‘A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the souls if its people’ – Mahatma Gandhi

One hundred and seventy-seven (177) years ago on May 30th 1845, the first wave of East Indian immigrants arrived in the Port of Spain Harbour at the end of a treacherous trans-Atlantic journey on board the Fatel Razack ship. Brought from India to work in Trinidad to address the labour shortage in the post-emancipation period, the Indians coped with the harsh conditions of life and work on the sugar estates. These challenges were met with resilience, perseverance, and a determination to succeed in some way.  Their determination and hard work drove them to forge great lives out of the little they had, which helped shaped...

Monitoring our biodiversity: Tracking Sea Turtles Worldwide

The month of May celebrates two auspicious days, World Biodiversity Day under its theme “Building a shared future for all life” on May 22nd and World Turtle Day, which is observed globally on May 23rd. Biodiversity describes the variety of all living organisms across all types of environments, land, rivers, lakes, and oceans, and extends to the complex interactions between life and the ecosystems in which they are found. These interactions provide for ecological functions which include the provision of oxygen, water, food, protection from flooding and storm surges, recreation, livelihoods, and economic well-being. According to a 2001 publication by the United Nations Convention...

Marine Resilience Initiative - Tobago

The Marine Resilience Initiative (MARIN) Tobago Project Launch

The Marine Resilience Initiative (MARIN) Tobago Project will be launched at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), in partnership with bp Trinidad and Tobago. It is an 18-month pilot which seeks to determine the appropriate and feasible rehabilitation strategies for both the coral reef as well as the seagrass beds that surround Tobago. The coral reef and seagrass beds that are part of Tobago’s marine ecosystem have suffered degradation over decades by a combination of climate change and human impacts. One of the most notable impacts was the loss of up to 50 per cent of hard coral cover...

Rip Currents! We must Exercise Caution on our Beaches!

By Christopher Alexis, Researcher, Oceanography & Coastal Processes Department Trinidad and Tobago’s beaches have been re-opened after a lengthy closure because of the COVID -19 pandemic. Our citizens may once again enjoy the coastal waters that surround our twin island republic. Notwithstanding our love for the sea, the Institute of Marine Affairs strongly advises that the public exercise caution on the nation’s beaches, particularly over this Easter weekend, as our heightened excitement may reduce our awareness of the coastal environment. During the year from an oceanographic perspective, there are the summer (May to October) and the winter (November to April) periods. The summer months have characteristically...