Inaguas and Hogsty Reef, Bahamas
The Living Oceans Foundation conducts coral reef research missions in the Bahamas as part of our Global Reef Expedition. Our scientists use satellite imagery, aerial surveys, SCUBA assessments, and underwater photography and video to characterize the coral reef community and create detailed habitat maps. We measure depth, take sediment samples, and use sonar to profile the seafloor; and we use SCUBA to determine the structure of the fish and coral communities, assess coral health, and look at indicators of resiliency such as algal growth, disease prevalence, and patterns of coral reef recovery. Professional videographers sometimes accompany our science team on missions.
We already completed coral reef research missions to Cay Sal Bank, Great Inagua, Little Inagua and Hogsty Reef, and Andros Island during 2011. These missions focused on how the consumption of algae helps control algae populations, and the prevalence and impacts of coral disease. Reefs with exceptional characteristics of scientific interest, known as Legacy Sites, are used to monitor changes over time, and are precisely located and marked on four corners with stainless steel markers. Each Legacy Site is thoroughly photographed using a high-resolution digital camera, and all corals are extensively surveyed.
Our coral reef research missions resulted in the creation of high resolution habitat maps, substrate profiles, detailed characterizations of the coral reef community and coral habitats, a better understanding of the growth rate of algae and the role that algae-eating fish in regulating algae populations, and the characterization of dark spots disease, which is a prevalent coral disease. All of the imagery, maps and information from the Bahamas missions are compiled in our Geographic Information System (GIS) database.