News from Barbara our Resident Marine Biologist.
Oceans are the true heart of our planet Earth. They regulate our climate, they reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the phytoplankton in them produces between fifty to seventy per cent of the oxygen we breathe (!!!) – and most likely life itself derives from the deep blue waters.
Everything in the ocean is linked to everything else and the resulting complex ecosystems even scientists will sometimes find difficult to understand. And just like with the “butterfly effect”, even slight changes within an ecosystem may negatively affect many functions within this network and may even impact larger ecosystems throughout the entire ocean.
One example for such an ecosystem are the coral reefs, the so-called rain forests of the sea. Although coral reefs cover less than one per cent of the ocean floor, they are home to about a quarter of all marine species. This makes them highly valuable for the marine life, but also for us humans – for food and medicine as well as for recreation.
In cooperation with IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Reethi Beach is currently developing and implementing a Marine Managed Area around the island – a concept to be replicated throughout the country in order to increase the overall expanse of protected areas. For this we need to monitor the entire reef and identify zones which require special protection. Certain areas will then be marked as off-limits to allow baby corals to settle down undisturbed and broken corals to recover.
To gain an insight into the development of the health of the reef, our Resident Marine Biologist Barbara has already installed sedimentation traps to measure and monitor changes among the coral colonies.Additional signage and information by the snorkel entries as well as an environmental information booklet currently in production are aimed at increasing awareness among guests and colleagues.
Unfortunately much of the coral cover around the island is still severely damaged by ill-informed snorkelers and swimmers.
The entire Reethi Beach team is already involved in training sessions about marine matters and is continuously encouraged to treat the environment in a respectful way.