Environmental Education and Coral Reef Etiquette (Draft 1)

This discussion topic submitted by Becky (deehrra@miamioh.edu) at 15:46 on 2/28/99. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

In reviewing last year's TME topics, I recognized that the presentation I am proposing is very similar to another done by Lynn Anderson. Since most of us are not returning students to the Bahamian Field Station, I am assuming that this will not be a repeat presentation for fellow TME Summer '99 classmates. Even if it is, it is my opinion that you can never have enough stewardship education.

Especially as recreational divers and snorkellers, we must become aware of the impacts our activities can have on sensitive ecosystems. In order to preserve coral reef health and prevent further reef destruction, we all need to have a background understanding of one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. My presentation will serve as a briefing/environmental education talk to help us miminize our impacts on the reefs while we are checking out this great place, San Salvador, the Bahamas!

Preliminary Outline:
I. Coral Reefs
A. Where are they found (nutrient requirements)
B. Physical Composition
C. Biodiversity
D. Sensitivities of reef fauna and flora
1. Hard corals
2. Soft corals
3. Other benthic assemblages
4. Reef critters (highly technical term)
E. Natural disturbances
F. Effects of disturbances

2. Snorkellers and Divers
A. Common characteristics
1. Snorkellers
2. Divers
B. Human disturbances
C. Effects of disturbances
1. Immediate/Temporary
2. Long-term/Permanent

3. Etiquette to prevent coral reef damage
A. "Self improvement"
1. Snorkellers
2. Divers
B. Minimization of destructive activities
C. Look but don't touch
D. Cautions about underwater photography

4. Other Stuff
A. Other anthropogenic sources of disturbance
B. Possible solutions for protection of coral reefs

Resources: I have a fairly long list of resources since I did a similar research paper for IES 531: Principles and Applications of Environmental Science (Dr. Greenberg). However, since it's been a while since I last reviewed them, I am listing only a few. There will be more to come anyway. . .

Carlton, J.T., and Butman, C. 1995. Understanding marine biodiversity: a research agenda for the nation. Oceanus Fall/Winter, pp4-10.

Hawkins, J.P., and Roberts, C.M. 1993. Effects of recreational SCUBA diving on coral reefs: trampling reef-flat communities. J. Applied Ecol. 30, pp25-30.

Hinrichsen, D. 1997. Coral reefs in crisis. Bioscience 47:9, pp554-558.

Medio, D., Ormond, R.F., and Pearson, M. 1997. Effect of briefings on rates of damage to corals by SCUBA divers. Biol. Conserv. 79:1, pp91-95.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1998 (on-line) "The extent and condition of U.S. coral reefs" by Steven L. Miller and Michael P. Crosby. NOAA's State of the Coast Report. Silver Springs, MD: NOAA.

Rouphael, A.B., and Inglis, G.L. 1997. Impacts of recreational SCUBA diving at sites with different reef topographies. Biol. Conserv. 82:3, pp329-336.

In addition, if you're interested, the NOAA website contains lots of cool stuff. The address for that is: http://www.NOAA.org

Also, http://www.florida-keys.fl.us/ntmarine.htm is a neat place to go to get more information on marine environmental education.

That's all for now!

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