Storm Swells Pound Caribbean Coral

Caribbean Coral Reef Formation

Caribbean Coral Reef Formation

March 25, 2008

Unusually large waves churned by an Atlantic storm system have littered the beaches of Barbados with broken coral in what could be a sign of damage to reefs across the region, a scientist said Sunday.

The amount of rubble on the island’s west coast suggests the coral took a heavy pounding, said Leo Brewster, director of Barbados’ Coastal Zone Management Unit, who was organizing dives later this week to survey the damage.

“We think it’s going to be pretty extensive,” Brewster said. “I think we’re going to see it across the Caribbean.”

The waves, reaching as high as an estimated 30 feet, lashed coastlines from Guyana to the Dominican Republic last week as a large low-pressure system idled off the northeastern United States.

At their peak on Thursday morning, a buoy north of the U.S. Virgin Islands recorded swells of 15 feet “” the highest since 1991, said Shawn Rossi, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan. Several countries reported flooding in coastal areas.

In Barbados, the white coral washed up in chunks as heavy as seven pounds, generally healthy but with their polyps rubbed away by the rough surf, Brewster said.

Reef-building coral provide a habitat for thousands of marine creatures but have been dying off across the Caribbean due to coastal pollution, overfishing and disease blamed on rising sea temperatures.

1 thought on “Storm Swells Pound Caribbean Coral”

  1. The writer of this article obviously did not take this picture; because if they had taken this picture then they would have known that they did not take it in the Caribbean (clownfish do not live in the Caribbean). If this is picture is legitimately taken in the Caribbean, please report it to the government agency in charge of fisheries immediately as you have a picture documenting at least three species invasive to the Caribbean.


Leave a Comment