Time Out for Turtles – Part 2

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I meet my colleagues at Alligator Head Foundation (AHF) at 7am to gather materials that will help us to monitor sea turtle nests. Despite the early morning hour, there is a contagious enthusiasm in all who are going to search for sea turtle nests. We pile into two vehicles and drive to the beach.

We drive down a gravel road getting the first glimpse of the Jamaican turquoise blue water glimmering in the sunlight. Gathering our supplies, we walk across a wooden plank straddling a small ravine that leads to a small sandy beach in a quiet little cove, which is a perfect location for sea turtles to lay their eggs.

Francine Cousins, a conservation officer at Alligator Head Foundation looks for turtle tracks that could lead us to a nest. The weekend’s tides have washed away the evidence, so she grabs a thin rounded stick and looks for disturbed areas of sand. When she finds one, she gently begins poking her stick through the sand, feeling for areas where the sand easily gives way. She methodically and repeatedly pokes the sand until she strikes gold. She finds an area where the stick easily slides through the sand. Alligator Head Foundation’s employees, Floyd and Kymani anxiously, but carefully, begin removing the sand until a tiny round white egg, the size of a golf ball, appears…

Time Out for Turtles – Part 1

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103…104…105…,” Denise says as the sea turtle egg count ends. Occasionally, when I’m in Jamaica for the J.A.M.I.N. program, I get to volunteer to help my partners at the Alligator Head Foundation (AHF). One morning, it was a privilege to be invited to help monitor sea turtle nests on a beach in Portland.

There are seven species of sea turtles in the world. Four of these species are found in Jamaica – hawksbill, green, loggerhead, and leatherbacks. Globally, sea turtle populations are in decline. Sea turtles in Jamaica face threats including improper planning and development of beaches, illegally poaching eggs and adult turtles, and predators such as dogs, mongoose, and ants consuming eggs and hatchlings.

Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics

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The Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics project was proposed to help address the United Nations Ocean Decade Challenge to “understand the effects of multiple stressors on ocean ecosystems, and develop solutions to monitor, protect, manage and restore ecosystems and their biodiversity under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.” Our project focuses primarily on conserving tropical marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangroves, as well as incorporating measurable actions that communities can use to reach their conservation goals.

On the Global Reef Expedition, we saw that, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDC), there was not only a lack of scientific information, but also a lack of ocean literacy, particularly regarding local ecosystems. The Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics project will leverage our existing scientific data and outreach programs, partnering with universities, non-profit organizations, governments, and communities to help raise awareness and improve conservation of these fragile marine ecosystems. We will be addressing not only the lack of scientific knowledge, but also use outreach programs to improve community wide ocean literacy to help influence behavior change…

Riyadh Blue Talk: Tune-in Tomorrow @ 7am ET

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is delighted to be participating in the Riyadh Blue Talk tomorrow morning, May 24, 2022.

The “Riyadh Blue Talk” is organized by the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the Embassy of Portugal, and the Embassy of Kenya in Riyadh. The event begins at 7am ET and will be live-streamed to allow for virtual participation.

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has been invited to share our knowledge of marine science and conservation, and to present our work to provide science-based solutions to protect and restore ocean health.

Our Chief Scientist, Sam Purkis, will be discussing what measures can be implemented so we can have accessible, affordable, shared data to better support the decision-making process towards ocean sustainability. He will also be participating in a panel discussion on increasing scientific knowledge and developing research capacity to advance ocean conservation initiatives.

Tune in to watch his presentation LIVE @ 8:20 am ET!

What We Learned: Marine Protected Areas Work in Conserving Coral Reefs

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Managing marine resources is a challenge for communities around the globe. On the Global Reef Expedition, we had the opportunity to visit protected and unprotected reefs in both remote locations and those regularly used by humans. The degree of protection varied, but we found that areas with the highest protection had the healthiest reefs.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a tool commonly used by governments and communities to manage their marine resources. An MPA can have varying degrees of regulations, including no-take and no-entry where no fishing is allowed and entrance into the park is not permitted, to varying permitted use that regulate the fishing and use practices. Some of the countries we visited, such as Australia (Northern Great Barrier Reef), Palau, and New Caledonia have large human populations utilizing the reefs and have prioritized establishing large protected and managed areas to conserve their nearshore reef systems.

A New Model of Coral Reef Health

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Scientists have developed a new way to model and map the health of coral reef ecosystems using data collected on the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition. This innovative method, presented today at the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), can determine which natural and anthropogenic factors are most likely to lead to persistently vibrant coral and fish communities. Their findings can help scientists identify the reefs most likely to survive in a changing world.

The new models are a first step in being able to produce maps of global coral reef resilience.

Protecting Palau’s Reefs

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For thousands of years, Palauans have practiced “bul,” which is a traditional method of ecosystem conservation. In this practice, coastal communities will close areas to fishing and prohibit access for a designated amount of time, though not indefinitely. This traditional practice has become the basis for a large network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Palau. Most marine conservation efforts in Palau are led by individual states, which established their first internationally recognized marine conservation area as far back as the 1950s. Since then, many states have established MPAs and the national government of Palau has implemented large scale MPAs offshore, protecting 80% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from commercial fishing.

KSLOF publishes our findings on the status of coral reefs in Palau

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is proud to release our findings on the state of coral reefs in Palau. Our research, based on extensive underwater surveys, found Palau’s reefs had the highest live coral cover of all the reefs studied on the Global Reef Expedition, a scientific research mission to assess the health and resiliency of coral reefs around the world.

Published today, the Global Reef Expedition: The Republic of Palau Final Report summarizes the Foundation’s research on the status of coral reefs and reef fish in Palau and provides conservation recommendations that can help preserve these outstanding coral reefs for generations to come.

The Global Reef Expedition: A mission to assess the health of coral reefs around the world

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In 2011, scientists from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation set out on a mission to explore the remote coral reefs of the world. An international team of scientists, photographers, videographers and conservationists, as well as local leaders, were assembled to map, characterize, and evaluate coral reefs throughout the western Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They wanted to take a snapshot of the reefs in time, to survey and map the reefs and assess their health before it was too late.