International Team of Scientists Explore the Wonders of the Redonda Ecosystem

A view of Redonda. Photo: Ralph Pano

To gain a better understanding of the unique Redonda ecosystem, researchers from the Waitt Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Health and Environment have completed a scientific expedition of this uninhabited island.

Dr. Stuart Sandin from the San Diego-based Scripps Institution of Oceanography led the two-day expedition that explored the health of Redonda’s marine environment. Scientists conducted marine surveys to explore the island’s coral reef and fish biodiversity.

“Collecting these data is a critical step to better understand local fisheries and ways to protect them” says Mr. Andy Estep, the Waitt Institute’s Science and Field Manager. “Over the past years, the Waitt Institute has done extensive scientific research in the near-shore waters of Barbuda and Montserrat. We are thrilled to continue surveying other sites to get a more holistic picture of the region’s marine environment, particularly Redonda, this environmental jewel of Antigua & Barbuda.”

Scientists at work at Redonda
Scientists at work around Redonda

Two local scientists from Antigua participated in the research cruise,  Mr Ruleo Camacho and Ms Amelia Bird.  They both work for Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Health and Environment. Camacho said, “Redonda is considered to be a biological hotspot within the Eastern Caribbean and this research allowed scientists and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to gain a better understanding of the ecological conditions around the island, and will better inform our management decisions in its regard.”

 

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He added, “One of the highlights of this trip was working with individuals on behalf of Waitt [and] Scripps … a lot of technically skilled persons were involved in this trip. It was a really good learning experience and it really paved the way.”

The expedition was made possible by the support of the Waitt Institute, also known for their previous work with the Barbuda Council and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda on the Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative. The expedition took place aboard the M/Y Plan B.

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