What’s happening to the Bay in St Lucia?
As most ecologists know, observing the same location over time tells you a story about what is going on with the health of the ecosystem. We have a small ecosystem in trouble….a favorite little bay in St. Lucia where Katie (and Nina and Sam, Kievan, Karim, and Selena and sometimes even Keiwa) likes to jump off of the high rocks. The reef was so beautiful when I first saw it many years ago. It still has a diverse array of coral species, but at least half of the bay now has mostly dead coral. The fish population was equally diverse, but now very few fish call the bay home. And what happened to all the sea urchins? They are such important grazers of the reef and none were there this week. It is likely that the Christmas Eve storm that devastated St. Lucia dislodged and killed the sea urchins. The sediment from the torrential rains from Hurricane Tomas in 2010 and again on Christmas Eve have seriously damaged the corals. Green algae is growing more abundantly, likely aided by nutrient enrichment. We have been challenged to try to reverse this process. Even as we can see that the corals of the outer bay seem to be healthier than just after Tomas, others are bleached and dying
. Do you think we can do it? I think it will take a concerted effort, particularly from those who live in this watershed or visit the bay, but I DO think it’s possible. Who wants to help?
Mary Beth, have you considered that the changes in the bay may be accelerated by ocean acidification? See the article that I have published on issuu.com titled Start attitude change to stop climate change.
Here is the link: