For those of you whose interest in seeing footage of coral reefs was awakened by the recent BBC2 Great Barrier Reef series, here’s chance to take a glimpse at a healthy Caribbean reef.
Back in December 2011 prestigious CBS news magazine ‘60 Minutes’ showed a 12 minute feature focusing on the plight of the world’s coral reefs, Correspondent Anderson Cooper visited Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) with the Ocean Foundation’s Senior Fellow, Dr. David E. Guggenheim to take a look at a uniquely preserved ecosystem that illustrates the way a healthy coral reef looked like compared to the majority of reefs in the region which have becoming seriously degraded over the past 50 years.
The Gardens of the Queen have been described as one of the world’s most vibrant coral reefs, an anomaly at a time when many of the world’s reefs are in danger – or already dead.
Click on the link to below to view the 12 minute feature:
This is interesting viewing for reef aquarists for many reasons.
Caribbean coral reefs, along with the rest of the reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, are markedly different to those of the Indo Pacific. Alcyoniidae, the leather corals that we are familiar with from the Indo Pacific are largely absent; in their place are an abundance of Holaxonia, the sea fans and gorgonians.
It is an inspiring program to watch if you are contemplating putting together a biotope based on this region. Although we don’t have access to stony corals from the area there are plenty of other interesting invertebrates and colourful fishes available that can be made into a fascinating reef display refreshingly different from the usual mishmash of Indo Pacific species.
It is encouraging to see a healthy reef, showing little degradation, although on reflection most reefs shown on television are either ‘pristine’ or devastated.
This program caused much debate amongst coral reef scientists, some of it nit-picking, but I think the consensus was that it was a positive event with at least 18 million Americans seeing this film on the night it was broadcast. The biggest problem facing coral reefs today continues to be the lack of awareness among the general public regarding their deteoriating condition and the causes of that condition. Anything that helps to get this message across, as with the recent BBC2 Great Barrier Reef series, is invaluable to reef conservation.
The fish, particularly the groupers are stunning. Also watch out for the short segment showing what looked to be Periclimenes species shrimps engaged in cleaning activity.
Again, one to watch and to recommend to friends and colleagues to increase their appreciation of coral reefs, and their awareness of the issues affecting them.
CBS ’60 Minutes’ – The Gardens of the Queen