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Showing posts from 2021

A Wetter Dry Season

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What does a wet dry season really mean? Dr Anjani Ganase explains the phenomena that originate in the Pacific Ocean, El Niño (the Child) and La Niña (the reversal)   Humankind’s path has always been at the mercy of the weather, climate, oceans, and atmosphere. Those capable of understanding the environment were able to use the winds to sail to foreign lands or to successfully grow crops with higher yield and survive disaster. Today, we have the best tools and capacity to monitor and observe our planet and mitigate for environmental shifts, but no matter how much we learned, we will always be at the mercy of the planet.    The unusually high number of rainy days in this dry season have caught both humans and wildlife by surprise. Photo by Anjani Ganase    The might of the Pacific Ocean and its oceanic circulation can be felt in weather patterns around the world, a continent away. This is because of the strong connectivity between oceanic circulation and atmospheric conditions.

Life at the Surface of the Ocean

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Dr Anjani Ganase reveals the intricate web of life that exists between water and air off our shores As a budding marine biologist, some of my first introductions to the ocean did not include exciting encounters on exotic reefs or swimming with dolphins. Rather we were introduced to the very top layer of the ocean and the marine creatures that lived near the surface of the water, these creatures are referred to as a neuston community. Neuston is a Greek word for “to swim” and “to float”. Skimming a net along the surface of the water, we would find a collection of transparent shapes and drifting forms that were larvae of fish and invertebrates and other marine critters. In her recent publication, Rebecca Helm, Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, reviews the complexities of the neuston zone around the world and discusses the threats to these communities that reside in the interface between air and ocean at the “frontline” of impacts from human activities.  Diverse me

Welcoming Visitors from North and South

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Our islands, Tobago and Trinidad, are lucky to lie at the cross roads of migration paths for birds from the northern and southern hemispheres. Faraaz Abdool asks us to look out for these travellers, some of which might be from North America or South America, depending on the time of year. Our hospitality means allowing them to find food in unpolluted natural spaces. All photos courtesy Faraaz Abdool   The Pectoral Sandpiper's annual migration takes it from the Arctic tundra to Patagonia and back.                                    Cocoi Herons, native to South America, are large predatory wading birds.   What exactly is migration? The term is often used in reference to human movements: emigration, immigration, rural to urban migration, colonization, and the list goes on. In nature however, migration is nothing like this. Migration is an endless cycle, tuned to the internal and external rhythms of the earth. Migratory species are intrinsically linked to our planet and its relati

Tobago ceramics for the planet

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  Helen Evans created Planet Ceramics in 1998 in tribute to the world in an island which she found in Tobago. She talks to Pat Ganase about making art and a livelihood in a place of joy and endless inspiration.   WHY TOBAGO I find it very inspiring to be working in Tobago. The whole environment is invigorating. If I just look outside my shop at the ocean, it changes from hour to hour, the sun comes out, clouds drift across, light or heavy rain, it’s an extraordinary spectacle all the time. And the sunsets are stunning. Then there’s the flora and fauna, the rainforest; so vivid, so much variety. We don’t often recognize what’s in front of us. Going back to London made me see what’s here, and what’s there; allowed me to appreciate the contrasts but also what’s special about each place.                                                     Rainforest tiles, photo courtesy Helen Evans                                                          Helen in her studio, photo by Chris Meure

Resilient Chacachacare

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  Anjani Ganase looks at the world reflected on one of our country’s tiny western isles, Chacachacare     The most westerly and possibly the farthest isle away from Tobago in the same country is Chacachacare. It lies in the Bocas, the body of water that separates the northwest peninsula of Trinidad from Venezuela. This island is a reflection of our human history from colonization, slavery, revolutions, agriculture, war and disease. Today, Chacachacare is visited by boaters and hikers who take the half hour trek west to the island to swim in calm sheltered bays and wander the overgrown roads that lead to the lighthouse in the north and to the famous salt pond in the south on paths that have been trod for hundreds of years.   The records of Chacachacare date back to pre-Columbian times. Archeologists have discovered Amerindian presence in middens, piles of shells, pottery and food remains. In 1498, when Christopher Columbus rediscovered Trinidad and Tobago, his fleet stayed one nig

Seaspiracy Controversy

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The documentary Seaspiracy does more to spur controversy over the validity of statements and encourages finger pointing instead of fostering discussion for genuine change in the ways that marine resources are used and managed. Anjani Ganase discusses what might have been done to achieve better conversations   I don’t watch documentaries as they feel like work and are often too depressing. However, I watched Seaspiracy because there seemed to be a discrepancy between the reviews from the scientific community and those viewers not working in ocean research and conservation. Regular reviewers were left appalled by the greed and unregulated practices in the fishing industry, while the marine scientists were angered. The documentary was heavily criticized by the scientific community for the false statistics and the misinformation, including the retracted statement that there will be no fish by the year 2048. I’m not going to delve into this here, as it is covered in detail by scientist