Although the weather may not have fully cooperated on Saturday, June 27th, the Bermuda Zoological Society’s annual REEF Watch citizen science initiative, sponsored by Hiscox, has proven to be another successful year.
The event supports the work of the Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring [BREAM] programme led by chief scientist Dr. Thaddeus Murdoch.
In all, 28 teams signed up to participate for the annual survey that assesses the health of Bermuda’s coral reefs, however, as high surf conditions were predicted for the day, teams were given two weeks to return their data for analysis.
Volunteers surveying reefs during the 2014 BZS Reef Watch event, photo by Sara Westhead
Dr. Murdoch has begun assessing the data that has received back thus far and explained, “Out of the 19 reefs surveys that have been examined, we have found that 58% of them had good hard coral cover and 37% were in fair condition.
“Only 5% of the reefs surveyed were found to be in poor condition. This is very good news, as Bermuda’s hard corals build our coral reefs and give reefs the strength to withstand powerful waves and, in this manner, protect our shores and beaches from erosion during big storms.”
In addition to checking the health of 19 reefs so far, including documenting coral health and counting different types of marine animals, the teams also managed to raise more than $15000 for coral reef conservation.
The top fundraising teams for the event were Team Dom Perignon, which raised $1500, followed by Team Groundswell, which raised $1,280. All the funds raised will go directly towards continuing efforts to not only protect Bermuda’s reefs, which are vital to our survival, but also to scientific observation and study.
These teams, and all those participating in the event, were honoured and thanked for their efforts in a special barbecue held at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo on the evening of June 27th.
‘The reefs of Bermuda are an irreplaceable asset. Their protection takes a long-term approach to the risks, which could impact their health and thus the prosperity of this beautiful island. At Hiscox we work to manage long term risk and it is a great privilege, for the third year, to be sponsors of the research led by the team at the Bermuda Zoological Society,” stated Jeremy Pinchin, Hiscox Re CEO.
“The divers who collected information, and those that sponsored a REEF Watch team, are directly supporting the continued health of Bermuda’s coral reef system,” explained BZS President Richard Winchell.
“REEF Watch volunteers contribute important data and observations for analysis and monitoring by our reef scientists, and this helps us all have a better understanding of our shared marine environment. We are thankful to everyone for their support of this important project, particularly our lead sponsor, Hiscox.”