Montserrat Underwater is Very Alive and Fascinating, Says Marine Biologist

LITTLE BAY – Montserrat’s underwater is very alive and fascinating, says Waitt Institute Science Manager, Andy Estep.

Estep blogged about his recent experience with a team of scientists, who made 42 dives and took almost 100,000 high resolution images of the coral reefs in Montserrat’s waters, for National Geographic.

In A First Impression of Montserrat, from Below the Surface the marine biologist said the dive experience is part of a larger project to create photomosaics of coral reefs on 100 islands around the world.

“The health of Caribbean coral reefs has declined dramatically in the last few decades, but during our week of diving around Montserrat we saw a few exciting signs of hope,” he blogged.

In his initial observations, Estep said coral cover was around 10-25% whereas in other reefs in the region it is less than 5%. He spotted a lot of juvenile reef fish which is a sign of populations that can rebuild and recover. Coral species diversity was also relatively high and included “six of the seven Caribbean coral coral species designated as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.”
You can read his full blog entry on the state of the coral reefs on the National Geographic blog here.

Andy Estep, Waitt Institute Science Manager, swims the camera rig over the reef to collect images that will be used to generate photomosaics. Photo: Dr. Phil Matich
Andy Estep, Waitt Institute Science Manager, swims the camera rig over the reef to collect images that will be used to generate photomosaics. Photo: Dr. Phil Matich

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