Showing posts from April, 2017

Sharing the beaches with sea turtles

Marine scientist and Technical Advisor to Save Our Sea turtles (SOS) Tobago, Dr Michelle Cazabon-Mannette, discusses how we manage events and activities mindful of other creatures with whom we share the coasts and beaches of Tobago. This feature was published in the Tobago Newsday on April 28, 2017. Our beaches are a natural asset whose value we can’t deny. Who doesn’t enjoy a beach lime? Locals and tourists alike flock to our beaches every chance they get, for recreation and relaxation. Beachfront properties are in high demand and drive real estate prices up. Like most small islands, we experience generally high levels of coastal development, with the majority of residential, industrial and tourism activities located within our coastal zone. The coastal zone, however, is fragile and contains biodiverse ecosystems such as coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps, which provide a range of services upon which we all rely. In addition to the pressure placed on the coast b

Conservation for human well-being

Marine scientist, Dr Michelle Cazabon-Mannette, introduces the idea of conservation for human health and well-being, and suggests activities that the average citizen should engage in, to keep Tobago green and serene. First published in Tobago Newsday on Thursday, April 20, 2017  Parrot fish have an important role in healthy coral reefs, grazing on algae, photo by Ryan P. Mannette Previous articles in this column have touched on some of the ways we benefit from the environment. This week I’ll focus on the link between healthy marine ecosystems and human well-being, to illustrate why conservation is important. I’ll also talk about the keys to a successful conservation strategy, and what we can all do to help conserve the environment. Healthy, functioning ecosystems perform a range of services that tend to go unnoticed, but upon which we heavily rely for all facets of our well-being including security, shelter, food and water, health, recreation and culture. These ecosystem se

The Great Barracuda, Unseen Predator

  Barracudas, the fish named by early American Spaniards for their long jagged teeth, can grow to six feet in Tobago waters. They often shadow scuba divers, chasing and charging into their bubbles. Silent and stealthy underwater, they are fierce and solitary predators, contributing to healthy coral reefs. Here’s the tale of an encounter with a barracuda 35 years ago. This feature was first published in the Tobago Newsday on Thursday, April 13.   Battery of barracuda: young fish grow on nearshore reefs, mangroves and in seagrasses. Photo courtesy The Ocean Agency, XL Catlin Seaview Survey On Holy Thursday 1982, a young couple came to Tobago to camp for the Easter weekend. They chose a quiet beach on the Atlantic side. The Studley Park beach runs alongside the Windward Road in the shelter of the Fort Granby cliff; it is accessible but not frequented; it seemed ideal for peace and solitude.   Settling in for the evening, they set up a small tent.

Fostering Tobago's Soul

Cynthia Hurd Clovis at the Kariwak Village Hotel and Holistic Haven. Photo courtesy Skene Howie Cynthia Hurd Clovis may have arrived as a Canadian over 40 years ago. She returns to Canada this month as a Tobagonian. Like many others beguiled by the island’s natural charms, Cynthia stayed, built her family and a business here. But Cynthia leaves much more than a thriving hospitality business; her lasting legacy is shaped in the people who became her family at the Kariwak Village and most assuredly, those who visit from around the world and return here season after season. This tribute to Cynthia's contribution to Tobago was first published in the Tobago Newsday on the weekend of April 9, 35 years after the "first night" on April 9, 1982. Cynthia Hurd Clovis relates in her Kariwak cookbook: “at the age of 26, a life on the island of Tobago, an unspoilt tropical paradise 11 degrees north of the equator, seemed dreamily exotic.” She arrived on the island in 1976, wit

Exploring Deep Reefs

Anjani Ganase, PhD candidate studying coral reef ecosystems at the University of Queensland in Australia, presents her colleague’s study of differences between coral reefs in shallow and deeper water. The findings in Dr Pim Bongaerts’ research may have implications for coral reefs around the islands off the north of Tobago. Latest scientific findings reveal that shallow water coral reefs that are more prone to disturbances such as wave action, storm damage and bleaching events, are unlikely to be reseeded by corals living in deeper, more protected waters.  Even though coral species may occur across a large depth range, they can evolve into different strains or  “breeds” adapted to either the shallow or deep water environments, limiting the connectivity between these sections of the reef. These were the finding of Dr. Pim Bongaerts, a coral reef scientist at the University of Queensland in Australia. The story of corals and coral reefs gets even more complicated. Pim’s inte