FAU Harbor Branch research professor John Reed, Ph.D., and biological scientist Stephanie Farrington recently departed on a two-week NOAA cruise aboard the NOAA ship, Pisces. Their quest: to characterize benthic habitat and fauna in five South Atlantic Marine Protected Areas. The research included nighttime multi-beam sonar mapping using a Remotely Controlled Vehicle (RCV) from the University of North Carolina and tracking the speckled hind, one of five species of grouper that is a "Species of Concern" for NOAA.
FAU Harbor Branch research professor, John Reed, recently joined a team of 18 other scientific divers to survey for the first time an expansive remote reef system off Honduras. The area is called "Miskito Cays," named after the indigenous Indians of Honduras and Nicaragua. These cays include small scattered palm covered islands, grassbeds and fairly pristine coral reefs. They extend over 100 miles east of Nicaragua in the western Caribbean and cover nearly 3,600 miles. This is the first detailed scientific survey of these reefs to document the coral, fish, algae, sponges, and fisheries species including lobster, conch, grouper and snapper. The objective of the cruise was to provide data in support of a proposal to the government of Honduras to make these reefs and cays a Caribbean Marine Protected Area that would be used exclusively for artisanal fishing. The work was supported in part by a grant to Steven Box, Ph.D. at the Smithsonian Institution from National Geographic for the fieldwork and dive boat.