Meet the Team (From Right to Left): Hannah Lunt-Bell (Project Marine Research assistant), Hanan Hasan (Bahrain’s first women PADI Diver Instructor), Reem Al Mealla (Project PhD researcher), Ashwaq Shukralla (On land video analysis support).
Our team is really excited to launch Project Reef Budget Bahrain! Are you interested in marine conservation? Do you want to know if coral reefs in Bahrain are accreting or eroding? If accreting or eroding, then at what rate per year? What kind of unique genotype does their symbiotic algae possess that enables them to withstand the harsh conditions they live in? Will they be able to adapt to climate change? This is just a glimpse as to some of the questions that we are trying to answer.
As a Bahraini marine biologist who has been away for a few months, I have been so excited to be hitting the waters and bringing marine research back to life on this island as part of my PhD research. Last May and September has seen our team diving into the waters of the hottest sea on the planet – the Persian-Arabian Gulf – where our little island resides. Needless to say – the water was absolutely boiling especially in early September.
Phase 1 of the project focused on drawing transects to get a feel of the benthic composition of the reefs and of course – fish surveys! Our team took various measurements to calculate rugosity, counted urchins and parrotfish (which are known to be bio-eroders) and much more! The project’s underwater survey methodology was adopted from the International ReefBudget Methodology: http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/reefbudget/
Following the surveys, DNA samples were collected and settlement PVC pipes and tiles were deployed and attached to the reefs in both Fasht Al Adhm and Reef Bul Thamah in Bahrain as part of a two year scientific study. Therefore, if you are a diver or a reef visitor, then please do not remove or touch them. The aim of deploying both settlement tiles and PVC pipes is to gauge what shall settle and grow on them in a year’s time and by how much in that set period – all of which shall contribute towards quantifying Bahraini reefs carbonate budget.
We hope that everyone shall contribute towards ensuring that this project is successful through not removing or touching the tiles and pipes. For more information, please do not hesitate in getting in touch with us. Thank you all for your cooperation and support, don’t forget to share the news amongst all divers to ensure that the pipes and tiles remain in their places. If you happen to see them why not take a photo and tag us on instagram @bnaturebh or @rmealla
More news on Phase 2 shall be shared in due time. This project is one of the first of its kind in the kingdom, and we put together a short video that explains the project in a bit more detail and how you can support or contribute towards its success. You can follow our journey on www.bnature.info – Bahrain’s first environmental platform – created voluntarily by citizens for citizens or www.reemalmealla.com
The Bahrain Reef Budget Project would like to acknowledge the following people for their tremendous help in making this project a success: Ahmed Al Aali for providing the space during training and Jafar Habib for his technical assistance underwater.