Showing posts from July, 2018

Under Pressure

What are the challenges to exploring the deep ocean? Dr Anjani Ganase considers light and pressure beyond 300 metres deep. Hard to imagine the weight of water at a thousand metres deep; far less deep in the abyss. We’ve all experienced that first plunge under the surface as a child; the frantic kicking of the legs to propel the body downwards; then the blurriness and burning of the eyes followed quickly by the build up of pressure in the ears to make us give up and return to the surface. I would spend hours at the beach, heels above my head trying to push the limits just to catch a view of the bottom and any fish or creature below. The first lesson was how to equalise the pressure in the ears to go a little bit deeper and to stay longer just to catch glimpses of the underwater world through short windows of 30-second breaths at 4 or 5 m deep.  If we wish to go beyond ten metres, we generally need SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) equipment to observe and e


Do we still have time and resources to save Tobago’s coral reefs? To pull them back from the edge of their long slow decline? Dr Anjani Ganase believes it’s not too late. There is need for everyone to understand their value, and for investments in monitoring, management, research and policy. Here is her quick survey of some strategies. After the recent devastation of coral reefs around the world in the 3rd global bleaching event (2014-2016) - the longest and most severe yet - and with the still uncertain future of climate change, scientists are desperately working on the next steps for coral reef survival. Even with the global agreement to reduce carbon emission and curb temperature rise to less than 2 degrees, it is predicted that we will still lose between 70 – 90 % of coral reefs (Frieler et al 2013). For the millions of people that depend on coral reefs, this story will be a tragedy. Apart from continued efforts to push governments to transition away from oil, coal and na

Business from Wind and Wave

Pat Ganase interviews Brett Kenny, owner and operator of the Radical Sports business at Pigeon Point. This feature was first published in the Newsday Tobago on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Windsurfer at Pigeon Point Tobago Brett Kenny runs a business built on wind and human energy. The northeast trades at Tobago are his allies; the translucent sea at Pigeon Point his workshop. His investment in boards and sails facilitates the release of human energy to allow anyone to enjoy the freedom of the sea. The skills that are learned in windsurfing, kiteboarding or stand-up-paddling would serve the amateur or professional athlete. He encourages participants to learn to swim; it is a requirement that can be learned easily: “we had a windsurfer who spent an hour each day learning to swim before he went on the board with a life-jacket.” Radical Sports headquarters and office is a modest environment-friendly cabin It is one of the things he believes parents and teachers should giv

Unsustainable Harvests

2018 has been designated the 3rd International Year of the Reef – IYOR2018.  This week, Dr. Farahnaz Solomon, Marine Biologist and IYORTT team member looks at one of the major services provided by coral reefs fisheries and laments the destructive and wasteful methods used to harvest wild fish.  Coral reefs are found worldwide in tropical oceans. They cover an area of about 284, 300 km2 around the shores of over 100 countries (Photo 1). Overlaying a human population map with a coral reef distribution map shows that 10% of the world’s population live within 100 km of coral reefs. Excluding the reasonably wealthy developing countries, 75 percent of these individuals (>400 million) are from the poorest developing countries. Most live in rural environments and are likely to be dependent on reef resources to support their livelihoods and for food security. Photo 1: Global Distribution of Coral Reefs.  Source: NOAA Due to their nearshore locations in relatively shallow water