Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 1; Cayo Ron Survey

One happy group of volunteers!  (photo:  W Merten)
This past Saturday 18 volunteers joined myself to kick-off the chapters' coral reef restoration project titled "Coral Reef Protection through Marine Debris Removal in two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs); Arrecifes de Tourmaline and Reserva Marina Tres Palmas.  The goal of Saturday's adventure was to survey the reef, mark the location of any debris we discovered, survey and ID the corals on the big boat hull, and have fun all the while.  I'm very pleased to report that all of our objectives were completed for day.  All of the volunteers deserve a big round of applause for the hard work they endured and for greatly contributing to this project.  I would also like to thank Taino Divers for providing 6 tanks of air and Surf 787 for providing 2 soft-top surfboards and a kayak.  I would also like to thank Oliver Bencosme and Pinchon from Seagrant for their help with documenting the adventure.  Thanks!!

The next field days are on for Friday (9/2) and Saturday (9/3).   Friday's objective is to remove previously marked small to medium size debris and to survey and ID corals on another large piece of the boat hull.  Saturday's objective will be to transplant the previously identified corals on the large pieces of boat hull to nearby suitable substrate.  If you are interested in helping out please contact me by email at wessley.merten@upr.edu.  Check out the figures and photos below from Saturday's mission.  

The figure above displays the survey tracks conducted by volunteers this past Saturday.  The inset, or focus area, is where most of the survey's were conducted due to the increased amount of shipwreck debris (Fig. W Merten).

The figure above displays the location of the debris the volunteers found during their surveys.  Within the hull grid is a schematic of the shape of the large boat hull.  See the figure below for a more detailed view (Fig. W Merten).

A total of 100 lbs of debris was removed from Cayo Ron as a result of Saturday's outing.  However, we positioned probably around 300 lbs to be removed this Friday at a drop site in a sediment area in the backreef.  Along with that debris, I estimate that this Friday we will remove around 500-700 lbs of debris! Bring your working muscles!  Take a look at one of the monster boat hulls we are going to need to cut up to remove below.

The figure above displays the boat hull on the substrate of Cayo Ron.  The hull is covering 57.8 m^2 of habitable reef substrate.  The numbers on the hull indicate the individual corals that are going to be transplanted to a location nearby.  Below is a species list by number (n = 40).  The white background is the grid that the measurements were based on.  The tan background represents the substrate minus the abundance of hard and soft corals and other associated reef species (Fig. W Merten & Hector Ruiz). 

Information prepared by Hector Ruiz

The quantitative estimate of the boat hull was derived from in situ (in the water/field) measurements and through calculations in ArcGIS and Photoshop.  A special thanks to James Sethward, Kathy Hall, and Carol Ramos for helping establishing the grid and with the process of taking measurements.  Additionally, I would like to thank Hector Ruiz and Tim Rowell for their work identifiying the corals that will be transplanted.

Our next outing is this Friday!  Contact me by email if you are interested in helping out.


Wessley Merten