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West Indian murex

West Indian murex

Science name: Chicoreus brevifrons A carnivorous sea snail with distinct spines that feeds on oysters and clams. The shell of C. brevifrons is relatively elongate, and has a typical muricid outline. Three axial varices are present along its body whorl, and they are ornamented by characteristic expanded hollow spines. It also presents flat spiral cords in the interspaces of its surface. The anterior canal is well-developed, akin to several other Muricidae snails. You may also like [smart_post_show id="19584"] ...

Sea fan

Sea fan

Science name: Gorgonia The dried-out cream-coloured skeleton of Sea Fans seen in the strandline on beaches does no justice to the beauty of live colonies of this ‘soft coral’ of the reefs. Soft corals, referred to as gorgonians, lack a hard, rigid, permanent skeleton. They attach to the substrate by a root-like holdfast and are able to flex and sway in the current. As the name suggests, the Sea Fan is compressed in the plane of a fan with interconnected ‘net-like’ branching, and ranges from purple to yellow in colour. They filter feed by capturing plankton from the water column as the “fan” is usually oriented...

Green sea mat

Green sea mat

Science name: Zoanthus sociatus Ellis. Grows in dense, connected, mat-like colonies of greenish or bluish polyps with short, blunt tentacles. They are usually found attached to rocks just below the low-tide mark and are easy to observe in the shallow water of the reef flat. Zoanthids have symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) that supply food and oxygen and give them their beautiful colour. They also feed by capturing plankton with their tentacles. You may also like [smart_post_show id="19584"] ...

Bearded fireworm

Bearded fireworm

A highly conspicuous worm with red gills and toxic white bristles on each segment. It feeds on the soft tissue of corals and sea anemones and is readily observed on reef rubble in shallow water, under stones, and on the coral reef. Though slow moving it is highly mobile and forages out in the open. When disturbed, the worm flares out the bristles so they are more exposed and ready to detach. Wear protective footwear while wading on the reef flat and in the shallows and avoid contact. The venom-filled bristles are easily shed and cause an intense, burning, long-lasting irritation. Recommended First Aid...

Atlantic ghost crab

Atlantic ghost crab

Science name: Ocypode quadrata. This sand-coloured crab with white claws is familiar to all who visit sandy beaches as it scurries about foraging for food at the tideline. It lives in holes on the beach and creates its burrow by the constant digging motion of its claws to scoop up the sand and toss it away. Nimble and shy it will flee down its burrow in an instant if approached too close. Both a scavenger and a predator of the sandy shore, ghost crabs play an important role in energy transfer in beach ecosystems. You may also like [smart_post_show id="19584"] ...

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...