Coral Reef Monitoring
As a coral ecologist, my story begins with mentorship. It was Dr. Dawn A.T. Phillip that trained and mentored me in survey methods, which ultimately led to a promise to permanently monitor the reefs located at Toco, Trinidad. I continue this work in her honor.
Research allowed me to somehow develop into an Advocate of Coral Reefs, specifically whenever anthropogenic issues arise and aimed at marine habitat destruction. Hence, I continue efforts to answer curious questions about marine life. There are so many questions that molecular techniques can answer with respect to marine life.
An indebt literature review and survey of the biological diversity of coral and associated reef organisms was conducted for the Saline "Salybia" and Grande L’Anse reefs along the north-eastern coast of Trinidad. A review of the literature, examination of museum collections, and coral reef field surveys were completed between 2005 through 2019. Surveys conducted used the line and point intercept and quadrat methods to gather data. If unidentified and incompletely identified specimens are not included. Molecular techniques are now being used for species identification. This research found 257 species belonging to 134 families, 23 classes, and 11 phyla. Most species belonged to Mollusca (75 species), Chordata (57), Cnidaria (43) and Arthropoda (33). Despite their proximity to each other, only 42 species were common to both reefs. Of the other species, most (178) were found at Salybia Bay reef, which is the only fringing coral reef in Trinidad & Tobago. Only members of Phylum Porifera showed a greater species richness at Grande L’Anse Reef than Salybia Reef, with five and two species, respectively. Published work continues to add more information about marine biodiversity for the most north-eastern part of Trinidad. Coral reef monitoring is essentially important in this area, as anthropogenic and climate change continue to affect global marine habitat.