Citation
Tropic news. Volume 9. Issue 12.

Material Information

Title:
Tropic news. Volume 9. Issue 12.
Series Title:
Tropic news
Creator:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publisher:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text







September 1997 Volume 9 Number 12


The value oft ecosystems


A recent article in the science journal
Nature (5/15/97) discusses the value of the
world's ecosystems to humans. By combining
ecological and economic principles, it is pos-
sible to place dollar values on the functions
and services provided by various ecosystems
worldwide. This perspective makes it very
clear how valuable our ecosystems are in per-
forming functions for the human population of
the world and how important it is for us to
conserve and preserve them.
It is estimated that the grand total of
benefits provided by natural systems ig $33
trillion per year. By comparison, the total
global Gross National Product is $18 trillion!
The largest proportion of the benefits are pro-
vided by aquatic ecosystems, including oceans,
coastal waters and wetlands. Benefits include
harvestable food items, habitat for food re-
sources and the species on which they depend,
sediment control, erosion control, shoreline
protection and nutrient cycling (estimated to
be worth $17 trillion per year).
These figures support what many scien-
tists have been saying for years that natural
ecosystems provide services to humankind at
far lower costs than if we had to provide them
for ourselves. It is certainly true that it costs
much more to "fix" a broken ecosystem than to
protect and conserve it in the first place. With-
out our natural systems, where would we be?


Teacher's Environmental
Education Workshop

No you haven't missed it! It's still scheduled
for Wednesday, September 24, 1997, 5:30 -
7:30pm, Department of Education's Curricu-
lum Center. Give us a call at the Division of
Fish and Wildlife office if you are planning to
attend 775 6762. Also, bring another teacher.
This is coine to be too exciting to he minprd


Parasite Questions
Have you ever caught a big game fish and
found other animals living on or in it? This is
not an uncommon thing to find. They may look
like a crab, a streamer or odd colored bumps
on the skin, gill surfaces or in the meat. If you
have ever seen anything like this and were
curious, there is a new book out that may
answer your questions. Ernest H. and Lucy B.
Williams of the Department of Marine Science,
University of Puerto Rico just published a book
entitled "Parasites of Offshore Big Game
Fishes of Puerto Rico and the Western Atlan-
tic". From jacks to dolphin (Dorado) to bill fish,
this book covers the types of parasites found on
each species of fish and information on the
parasites themselves. This book is available for
reading at the Division of Fish and Wildlife
Environmental Education Bureau office in Red
Hook.

Coastweeks

Coastweeks activities are scheduled
throughout the territory beginning Friday,
September 19, 1997 with an exhibit at the
Tutu Park Mall Center Court. The exhibit will
feature a variety of governmental agencies
who will provide information about our envi-
ronment. A beach clean up is also scheduled
for Saturday, September 20, 1997 at Lindquist
Beach. This beach clean up is being organized
by the Department of Planning and Natural
Resources. For more information please call
Donna Griffin at 775-6762.

Quote

"The environment is man's first right.
Without a safe environment, man cannot
exist to claim other rights, be they political,
social, or economic."
Ken Saro-Wiwa
wh;rOrnQT unT n n-* t *---C-u. .







Coral Diseases
As if our corals and coral reefs did not
have enough problems with human impacts
such as sedimentation, anchor and boat
damage, sewage and other pollutants, they
are now facing a period of high levels of
various coral diseases. During the last two
years, the incidence of some of the more well
known diseases has increased significantly.
Some of these include white band, black
band and yellow band diseases, various
"bleaching" events, white "pox" and white
"plague". And if we did not think those were
bad enough, in early 1997 a new, very ag-
gressive disease was discovered in the south
central Caribbean by several researchers
including James Cervino of the Global Coral
Reef Alliance.
This new disease has been termed the
Rapid Wasting Disease (RWD). So far it has
only been found on two species of corals.
Unfortunately, one of these species (small
star coral) is one of the most abundant spe-
cies on our reefs. RWD apparently kills the
coral animal and then produces an acid
which dissolves the skeleton. The disease
usually starts on top of the coral head and
can spread at rates up to 4 to 5 cm per day
until the entire coral head is affected. RWD
appears to be very infectious due to its rapid
spread through the southern Caribbean and
its presence here in the Virgin Islands. As
with most of these diseases affecting our
corals, there is no explanation for the cause
of the disease. Some theories are pollution,


global
warming,
introduc-
tion of
terrestrial
bacteria and fungi from land clearing, sew-
age contamination and others. Microscopic
examination of RWD affected corals has
revealed the presence of fungal growths in
their tissues.
These diseases, and especially RWD,
are of great concern to all of us. If the cur-
rent spread of RWD continues, it is likely to
become a major source of coral mortality in
the near future. White band disease killed up
to 95% of the elkhorn coral, the major shal-
low water reef building coral in the Carib-
bean in the early 1980's. This species still
has not recovered. This could spell real prob-
lems in the Caribbean as this will seriously
affect the health of our coral reefs. As our
reefs decline, we will lose many if not most of
the services provided by this diverse marine
ecosystem. We can only hope that this dis-
ease will shortly run its course and stop
affecting more corals or that a means will be
discovered to arrest the further spread.

t'& This newsletter was funded by the US
f Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
S Fishery Management Council and the
~; RAt Government of the VI.
Donna M. Griffin Editor
Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental Education


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
,*****
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104
(809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.)






Address Correction Requested


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.I.
PERMIT NO. 35


Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


I I I rr,




Full Text

PAGE 1

Seutember 1997 Volume 9 Number 12 The Value of Ecosystems Parasi te Questions Have you ever caught a big game fish and found other animals living on or in it? This is not an uncommon thing to find. They may look like a crab, a streamer or odd colored bumps on the skin, gill surfaces or in the meat. If you have ever seen anything like this and were curious, there is a new book out that may answer your questions. Ernest H. and Lucy B. Williams of the Department of Marine Science, University of Puerto Rico just published a book entitled "Parasites of Offshore Big Game Fishes of Puerto Rico and the Western Atlantic". From jacks to dolphin (Dorado) to bill fish, this book covers the types of parasites found on each species of fish and information on the parasites themselves. This book is available for reading at the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enviromental Education Bureau office in Red Hook. A recent article in the science journal Nature (5/15/97) discusses the value of the world's ecosystems to humans. By combining ecological and economic principles, it is possible to place dollar values on the functions and services provided by various ecosystems worldwide. This perspective makes it very clear how valuable our ecosystems are in performing functions for the human population of the world and how important it is for us to conserve and preserve them. It is estimated that the grand total of benefits provided by natural systems is $33 trillion per year. By comparison, the total global Gross National Product is $18 trillion! The largest proportion of the benefits are provided by aquatic ecosystems, including oceans, coastal waters and wetlands. Benefits include harvestable food items, habitat for food resources and the species on which they depend, sediment control, erosion control, shoreline protection and nutrient cycling (estimated to be worth $17 trillion per year). These figures support what many scientists have been saying for years that natural ecosystems provide services to humankind at far lower costs than if we had to provide them for ourselves. It is certainly true that it costs much more to "fix" a broken ecosystem than to protect and conserve it in the first place. Without our natural systems, where would we be? Coastweeks Coastweeks activities are scheduled throughout the territory beginning Friday, September 19, 1997 with an exhibit at the Tutu Park Mall Center Court. The exhibit will feature a variety of governmental agencies who will provide information about our environment. A beach clean up is also scheduled for Saturday, September 20, 1997 at Lindquist Beach. This beach clean up is being organized by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. For more information please call Donna Griffin at 775-6762. Teacher's Environmental Education Workshop Quote No you haven't missed it! It's still scheduled for Wednesday, September 24,1997,5:307:30pm, Department of Education's Curriculum Center. Give us a call at the Division of Fish and Wildlife office if you are planning to attend 775 6762. Also, bring another teacher. This is f!oinf! to be too exciting to hE'; mi~~pn "The environment is man's first right. Without a safe environment, man cannot exist to claim other rights, be they political, social, or economic." Ken SaroWi wa N;CTt:1,.;-:.n 1i'n~";"'I"\T"\~n~4-nl':~4

PAGE 2

glo?al ~ warmIngt ~. d ~ mtro uc~ tion of terrestrial bacteria and fungi from land clearingt sewage contamination and others. Microscopic examination ofRWD affected corals has revealed the presence of fungal growths in their tissues. These diseasest and especially RWDt are of great concern to all of us. If the current spread ofRWD continuest it is likely to become a major source of coral mortality in the near future. White band disease killed up to 95% of the elkhorn coralt the major shallow water reef building coral in the Caribbean in the early 1980ts. This species still has not recovered. This could spell real problems in the Caribbean as this will seriously affect the health of our coral reefs. As our reefs declinet we will lose many if not most of the services provided by this diverse marine ecosystem. We can only hope that this disease will shortly run its course and stop affecting more corals or that a means will be discovered to arrest the further spread. Coral Diseases As if our corals and coral reefs did not have enough problems with human impacts such as sedimentation, anchor and boat damage, sewage and other pollutants, they are now facing a period of high levels of various coral diseases. During the last two years, the incidence of some of the more well known diseases has increased significantly. Some of these include white band, black band and yellow band diseases, various "bleaching" events, white "pox" and white "plague". And if we did not think those were bad enough, in early 1997 a new, very aggressive disease was discovered in the south central Caribbean by several researchers including James Cervino of the Global Coral Reef Alliance. This new disease has been termed the Rapid Wasting Disease (RWD). So far it has only been found on two species of corals. Unfortunately, one of these species (small star coral) is one of the most abundant species on our reefs. RWD apparently kills the coral animal and then produces an acid which dissolves the skeleton. The disease usually starts on top of the coral head and can spread at rates up to 4 to 5 cm per day until the entire coral head is affected. RWD appears to be very infectious due to its rapid spread through the southern Caribbean and its presence here in the Virgin Islands. As with most of these diseases affecting our corals, there is no explanation for the cause of the disease. Some theories are pollution, ~\9\ &: ~ This newsletter was funded by the US ~ ~~ Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and ~~t!~~ Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean ~[o~ Fishery Management Council and the ~.roRJ\.~~ Government of the VI. Donna M; Griffin Editor Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental Education BULK RATE u.s. POSTAGE PAm CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.I. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF 11ffi VIRGIN ISLANDS OF 11ffi UNITED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104 (809)775-6762 (ST.T.), (809)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address Correction Requested Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper