The coral reefs around Carriacou comprise a beautifully special and biodiverse ecosystem on which the population of the island relies. Though our reefs are still teeming with life, increasing stress due to climate change, over-fishing and invasive species could ultimately threaten their collapse!
Caribbean Reef Buddy and our partners work closely with the local Sandy Island Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA) to safeguard and preserve the reef. Despite our best efforts, Caribbean coral reefs are threatened by a variety of external factors including overfishing, ocean acidification, and a rapidly warming planet.
We have taken the initiative to monitor our local reef systems, working in partnership with several international organizations to provide data on coral health, bleaching events, and the successful recovery of coral reefs surrounding Carriacou. We train our volunteers in several types of international reef monitoring protocols, including Reef Check. Reef.org surveys and Coral Watch. As a volunteer, many of your days will be filled with reef monitoring training, and monitoring dives.
Using Reef Check, Caribbean Reef Buddy surveys key Caribbean indicator species to gauge the health of the reef. We train volunteers to perform surveys by recognizing benthic substrates, corals, and reef fish. During your time as a volunteer, you will conduct reef check dives and monitor several different reefs around Carriacou. Data collected by volunteers is entered into a Reef Check database, allowing both regional and international analysis of results. These Reef Check dives provide continuous data on biodiversity and the long term health of the reefs thus helping inform decision making in regards to how reef areas are used and protected, and can track health of the reef within the Sandy Island Oyster Bed MPA.
Through our methods of reef monitoring and data collection, a better picture can be obtained concerning stressors to the reef ecosystem and strategies by which they can be mitigated. We work together with universities and individual researchers around the globe that share our goals to protect this beautiful and productive ecosystem. Caribbean Reef Buddy employs a variety of monitoring techniques including Coral Watch, Reef.Org, Reef Check and AGRRA.
Sep-2019 Update: We have created a new project on iNaturalist. The Carriacou Marine Life project aims to assess the marine biodiversity of the waters around Carriacou. We invite divers, scientists, dedicated naturalists and biology students to collaborate with us. There are 6 sub-projects for which you can submit observations: Fish, Corals and Sea Anemones, Echinoderms, Mollusks and Crustaceans. This database will help us to monitor the species we find here and also fellow divers and naturalists to identify what they see in our beautiful island.