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What do Christmas Trees have to do with Coral Reefs?

No doubt for this festive season a lot of us would have spent time putting up Christmas trees. One of the long-standing traditions of the Christmas season is decorating our Christmas trees often times with the help of our families. During this period trees are ubiquitous from shopping malls, business places to homes. The marine environment has its own Christmas trees that adorn the seafloor all year round, creating quite a display for those who dare to seek them out. Although these Christmas trees stand no more than 4 cm high, this in no way diminishes their brilliance and beauty. The organisms to which I...

Deployment of the Water Quality Monitoring Buoy in Claxton Bay, Gulf of Paria

The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), in conjunction with Microsoft Caribbean, Fujitsu, GlobeRangers and Digicel, deployed a Water Quality Monitoring Buoy in the Gulf of Paria (GoP) off Claxton Bay on October 25th 2017.  A press conference was held at the Claxton Bay Fishing Facility to observe this event.  The feature address was delivered by the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development, who stated that for far too long we have talked about our problems, but today we are here to discuss a solution to address pollution.  She commended the IMA for its initiative to work with private sector companies such as...

Royalty of the Sea- The Queen Conch

The queen conch is a large, herbivorous marine gastropod or snail, which can be found throughout the waters of the wider Caribbean region and Florida. This particular species of conch is differentiated by its large, whorl-shaped shell, spiny shell apex and bright pink interior at the shell’s lip. Deemed by far the region's most important snail, the queen conch has served as a main food source for the inhabitants of Caribbean coasts and islands since the settlement of the first Amerindians. In recent times, it remains an important protein source in the region, with growing exports to the United States. Apart from acting as...

It’s Vacation Time! Visit our Beaches for these Benefits – But be Aware of Potential Risks

“This is the Second of a Four-Part Series of articles based on the recently launched State of the Marine Environment Report 2016 published by the Institute of Marine Affairs.  This second article briefly looks at the health benefits that can be derived from going to the beach.” It’s vacation time and for many families, beach visits are a staple. In Trinidad and Tobago, beaches are loved and often regarded as places of healing and joy. At the seaside, as the salt cleanses us and the sun embraces us with its warmth, there is healing of the heart, mind and soul. Wallace J. Nichols, a Marine...

The State of the Marine Fisheries Resources of Trinidad and Tobago

“This is the first of a series of articles based on the recently launched State of the Marine Environment Report 2016 published by the Institute of Marine Affairs.  It is hoped that this series will raise awareness on the state of our marine environment, and underscore the urgent need for us to act diligently to conserve our coasts and oceans. This first article focuses on the current state of our fisheries resources.” Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with very rich and diverse marine fisheries resources, which are important both economically and socially for many of our coastal and rural communities. Resources that are exploited include...

Ocean Acidification and the Preservation of Childhood Wonder

Some of my fondest memories as a child were walking along the shore of Manzanilla Beach. As with most little children from time immemorial, I would enjoy walking through the surf as the waves playfully nipped at my feet. One of my favourite things to do was to look for seashells. Chip-chip which were most abundant at the time and all other shells, large and small would fill me with wonder. I remember marvelling at the exquisite colours at the time and how pretty they looked. Sadly, to my dismay, my mother would never let me take them home as she “had enough rubbish...

Our Oceans, Our Future!

Over 4 billion years ago, life began in water. All life, including our own, exists because of the ocean. Despite the fact that more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by seawater, it is often not realised how critical a role, the ocean plays in our daily lives. Let’s take a deep breath and dive into some of the essential services offered by the ocean. WEATHER AND CLIMATE The ocean has a major influence on the Earth’s climate because of its interaction with the atmosphere. It has the amazing ability to absorb, store and slowly release large quantities of the sun’s heat around the...

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...