Bonaire's Reef Being Mapped to Serve as Benchmark for the Entire Caribbean
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has designated Bonaire as having "arguably the most pristine coral reef environment in the Caribbean."
Bonaire's reef will now become the benchmark for which all other coral reefs will be compared, given that research has shown Bonaire as having the highest percentage of coral cover and the lowest percentage of algal cover compared to other Caribbean reefs. Additionally, an official study revealed that Bonaire is inhabited by more species of fish than any other Caribbean island.
To collect further benchmarking data, NOAA initiated an Ocean Explorer signature exploration titled "Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies," which took place January 7-30, 2008. The exploration was conducted by a team of researchers and scientists from the College of William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the University of Delaware and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography are leading the expedition with the help from STINAPA, the organization that oversees the Bonaire National Marine Park, where the expedition is taking place.
The expedition consisted of mapping Bonaire's reef using methods beyond the capabilities of conventional compressed air scuba diving including technical diving with mixed gasses and using three autonomous underwater vehicles to explore greater depths, where little to no survey work has previously been conducted. This unique mapping of the biological and physical environment will document patterns of biodiversity in shallow and deep parts of the reef. For more information about the NOAA Ocean Explorer Bonaire expedition, visit oceanexplorer.noaa.
Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean. Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, landsailing, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing. And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.
For more information on Bonaire contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 1-800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire's official website at tourismbonaire.com