In early October, Bob Steneck sets sail from Christmas Cove, Maine to the Caribbean to research resilience of coral reefs adjacent to the Antilles islands. The professor of marine sciences at the University of Maine, who is based at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine, is on sabbatical this academic year.
With funding from the National Geographic Society, Steneck and colleagues from around the world will survey coral reef communities of the archipelago and compare data with local fisheries management.
Coral reefs along the eastern shore of the archipelago from Anguilla to Grenada have similar oceanographic, climate and atmospheric conditions but human population densities and fishing pressure vary from island to island. The researchers will attempt to learn how fisheries management can strengthen coral reef health and resilience.
In 1973, Steneck surveyed some of the same reefs. This trip will afford him a 40-year perspective and opportunity to quantify long-term changes in the ecosystems.