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From NYC to PR: BOLD Coral Condition Survey in the Caribbean

2011 December 12

EPA Photo/Charles LoBue

By Charles LoBue 

Every day, I commute to my EPA office in downtown New York. However, twice a year, I’m assigned to work on EPA’s Ocean Survey Vessel BOLD. I am currently on assignment in Puerto Rico to monitor coral reefs. 

EPA Photo/Charles LoBue

The BOLD mobilized from San Juan with a team of scientist divers to conduct a coral condition survey along the southern coast of Puerto Rico. The primary plan is to collect detailed information and measurements of biological conditions important to coral reef health and sustainability. The BOLD is the perfect platform to allow 14 divers conduct these detailed surveys at 60 locations over a distance of 100 miles.  

The BOLD crew deploys two small boats daily, call signs PARKER and WILLARD, to carry teams to the survey sites.  It’s no small task to mobilize two five-diver teams and their pile of equipment several times a day, and the very capable BOLD crew makes it easy to launch the two boatloads within 10 minutes. We’re thankful that sea conditions have been really good, and we can generally complete seven stations a day.  After the 60 coral stations are complete, we will proceed to assess seagrass condition and sediment transport issues associated with runoff from Guanica Bay watershed.  

After eight days of diving operations, the divers are holding up well and looking forward to the next eight days.

Stay tuned for the second installment by our NYC scientist reporting from the BOLD.  

About the author: Charles LoBue is a biologist for EPA Region 2 Dredging, Sediment, and Oceans Team. He is an EPA-certified Chief Scientist for the Ocean Survey Vessel BOLD and is divemaster in EPA’s Scientific Diving Program, and has been actively involved in EPA ocean survey operations since 1998. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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10 Responses leave one →
  1. ddardson permalink
    December 12, 2011

    This is a great project as it will help us to learn and hopefully to adjust the conditions that preserve the coral reefs. I am a big fan of scuba diving and love the coral reefs. I have dived in Puerto Rico and enjoy their underwater beauty.

  2. Jen permalink
    December 12, 2011

    Great photograph of the ship. Did you take that, Charles?

  3. John Senn permalink
    December 13, 2011

    Glad to hear you all have calm seas for the survey, Buddy!

    • Anonymous permalink
      December 14, 2011

      Thanks John – we missed you.

  4. Orlando J Carlo permalink
    December 14, 2011

    A friend who works for you guys mentioned you were in San Juan. She said that you might be offering tours and maybe some talks. Any word on that. I would love to take my kids and see the research vessel.

    • Anonymous permalink
      December 14, 2011

      I’m sorry Olando. Our work is now complete and the ship departs to Florida tomorrow. Maybe next year.

  5. Michele Westmorland permalink
    December 21, 2011

    Great project and look forward to hearing about some of the results. I’m an avid diver involved in conservation of our oceans. Keep up the great work!

    • Buddy permalink
      December 23, 2011

      Thank you Michele! Keep up your great work also.

  6. Dmarelli permalink
    August 15, 2012

    Great post Buddy. Hope the trip was successful. I am currently in the Bahamas on a work assignment, lots of nice reefs in the Exumas.

  7. Olapa permalink
    September 26, 2012

    I was extremely excited to travel under the sea. I like the coral reefs.
    My hometown has a lot of beautiful coral reefs. Invite you to visit and study conditions
    Nice to get acquainted with people!

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