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Buccoo Reef Case Study

Buccoo Reef Case Study

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: The Cropper Foundation on Sep 09, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/14/2013

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B
Buccoo
reef 
 THE CROPPER FOUNDATION
In this case study:
 
1
 
Richard Laydoo, Kurt Bonair and Gerard Alleng, “ Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon, Tobago, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago”, 
Coastal Region and small island papers
, 3 (1998).2
 
IMA, “The formulation of a management plan for the Buccoo Reef Marine Park”, volume 2 Socioeconomic aspects, (Institute of Marine Affairs, 1994).
In 1998, Richard Laydoo, Kurt Bonair and Gerard Alleng authored a paper on the ecology and coralreef ecosystem of the Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon in Tobago.
1
This paper, together with workundertaken by the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) to formulate a management plan for the BuccooReef Marine Park, 
2
provide the majority of information for the sections dealing with location, andbiodiversity.
Location
The Buccoo Reef is located on the leeward southwest coast of Tobago between 11
o
08’N and 11
o
12’N latitudeand 60
o
40’W and 60
o
51’W longitude. Buccoo Reef comprises ve emergent fringing reefs, a shallow sandy
lagoon with a patchy distribution of coral communities, and an adjacent sheltered lagoon (Bon Accord Lagoon).Together these cover an area of 7km
2
.
The reef ats are generally characterized by narrow seaward reef crests and a more extensive back reef towardthe reef lagoon. Between the reef ats are sandy bottom channels, the widest and deepest is the Deep Channellocated between the Western and Northern Reefs. The fore reef is most extensive in the northern part of the reef system, and here it slopes to depths of 10 to 15m in depth. West of the reef ats the fore reef slopes to a depth
of 20m; to the east the fore reef slopes to a depth of 15m. The Bon Accord Lagoon is located to the south of the
Nylon Pool and to the west of the Eastern Reef Flat. The lagoon is poorly ushed, and the water in the lagoon
circulates every 2 to 5 days.
Section 1 
 Adapted from Laydoo et al. (1998)Figure 1: Map of Buccoo Reef Ecosystem
!
!
 
3
 
G.J. Edgar and Steve Parish, “Coral Reef Fact, Great Barrier Reef interesting facts about the reef”, Autstralian Marine Life,
 
4
 
Teresa Zubi, “Coral Reefs: Reef Formation”,
l
5
 
 Ibid 
6
 
Science Claried, “Biology of corals, Formation of coral reefs”,
l
7
 
TDE, “Tobago Diving Temperatures and Visibility Table”, Tobago Dive Experience,
8
 
Laydoo et al. 1998
Coral polyps are the building blocks of any coral reef. They are soft-bodied, tubular-shaped, invertebrate
animals that grow to a length and height between 3mm and 56mm.
3
Coral polyps have evolved a symbioticrelationship with a type of algae called zooxanthellae.
4
The zooxanthellae give the coral its characteristiccolour. Zooxanthellae produce sugars and oxygen through photosynthesis and aid the polyp in the process
of producing limestone or calcium carbonate.
5
The polyp secretes the limestone to form a hard shell around
its body and attach itself to a stable substrate. During reproduction, coral polyps move across the substrate toextend coral colonies or to make new coral colonies. When the polyps die the calcium carbonate skeletons of 
the polyps, together with limestone deposits of coralline algae fuse to form coral reefs. Reefs grow upward asgenerations of coral polyps produce limestone skeletons, die and become the base for new generations.
Table 1: Conditions for growth of coral reefs
6
The Buccoo Reef is a fringing reef. Fringing reefs are relatively young coral reefs that grow close to the shore;they grow upwards to sea level or just below and outwards toward the open oceans. Buccoo Reef is of Holoceneorigin, and lies on a Pleistocene carbonate platform which is similar to the terrestrial geology of the low lying
south-western region of Tobago.
8
 
Geology/ Formation 
7

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