Coral reef research.
The expedition to Pedro Bank launches the second year of the Foundation's multi-year coral reef research program, the Global Reef Expedition. The Foundation's research platform, the M/Y Golden Shadow set off from Port Antonio to arrive at the research site in Pedro Bank early the following morning. Several Jamaican scientists were on board. The Foundation will conduct scuba surveys on the coral reefs off Pedro Bank. As part of an effort to aid in selection of possible fishery reserves, the scientific team will also conduct plankton surveys to identify fish larvae and oceanographic assessments that will measure temperature, salinity, and water currents;
The primary scientific goals of the Global Reef Expedition are to characterize coral reef ecosystems, identify their current status and major threats, and examine factors that enhance their resistance to and recovery from major disturbance events. The Pedro Bank reefs were last surveyed in 2005 and the current research will use the same methodology (the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment protocol) and will reassess the same areas in addition to new locations. An extensive survey of this area will inform the development of a network of marine protected areas including fish sanctuaries that build connectivity, resiliency and the protection of vital larval supplies, fish stocks and keystone habitats. Results of the scientific findings will be shared freely with participating organizations and the Jamaican government.