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									                          BIOS Marine Environmental Program (MEP) Annual Report 2005/06


                                     Annual Report: 2005 to 2006

                                                  The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) is a US
                                                  incorporated 501(c)(3) ‘not-for-profit’ marine research and
                                                  education institution, incorporated in New York State and
                                                  based in Bermuda since 1903. BIOS is a registered
                                                  charity under the Charities Act (1978) - registration
                                                  number 116.

Funding sources:
Bermuda Government Ministry of the Environment (Department of Environmental Protection)
The Corporation of Hamilton
The Khaled Bin Sultan ‘Living Oceans’ Foundation, Ray Moore
NSF REU student program
                           BIOS Marine Environmental Program (MEP) Annual Report 2005/06

                                      Annual Report - April 2005-2006

       Executive summary                                                                                  i-iii

       Sub-program 1 - Physico-chemical analyses                                                          1-46
         1.1 Seawater Temperature Monitoring Program (STMP)                                               1-3
         1.2 Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP)                                                      5-18
         1.3 Antifouling paint surveys in Bermuda                                                         19-30
         1.4 Current meter studies at the Seabright sewage outfall                                        31-46

       Sub-program 2 - Ecological Surveys: Status and Trends                                              47-125
         2.1 Long-Term Video-Monitoring Program (LTVMP)                                                   47-57
         2.2 Coral Condition Monitoring Program (CCMP)                                                    57-63
         2.3 The Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity Program (CARICOMP)                                 64-65
         2.4 Permanent photoquadrats and coral settlement studies                                         66-68
         2.5 Special Studies: Benthic mapping of Castle Harbour, Grotto Bay and Ferry Reach               69-124

       Sub-program 3 - Ecotoxicology & Biomarkers                                                         125
         3.1 Ecotoxicological testing with corals                                                         125

       References                                                                                         127-128

MEP staff: Dr Ross Jones, Dr Jo Pitt, Dr Sam de Putron, Dr Alex Venn, Dr A Knap, Tim Noyes, John Evered
Graduate interns: Helen Brylewska, John Evered, Kim Holzer
Volunteer interns: Sarah Myhre, John Wardman
REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) students: Julie Hopper
Associated staff and scientists: Dr Rod Johnson
Photographs: Dr Alex Venn, Dr Ross Jones, John Evered
                          BIOS Marine Environmental Program (MEP) Annual Report 2005/06

                                    Annual Report - April 2005-2006

                                            Executive Summary

Sub-Program 1 - Physico-chemical analyses                      additional sites over the summer within the Great
                                                               Sound system.
Section 1.1. Seawater Temperature Monitoring
Program (SWTMP, Section 1.1). Water temperatures               Section 1.3. Analysis of the Bermuda marine
were recorded at ½ h intervals at 9 locations across           antifouling paint market. Surveys of marine
the Bermuda platform in 2004-2005. Maximum                     antifouling paint distributors (in August and
temperatures reached as high as 29.9°C (at the                 September 2005) suggest that the recent ban on the
offshore lagoonal patch reefs) in early September              importation of paints containing the booster biocides
2004, and as low as 15.1°C on the fringing reefs of            Irgarol 1051 and Diuron has been effective; however,
the Castle Harbour inshore basin. Maximum                      paints containing the booster biocide zinc pyrithione
temperatures differed by only ∼1°C between                     (ZPT, also known as Zinc Omadine ) are now being
locations in the summer, but minimum temperatures              more frequently imported. ZPT is registered for use
differed by ∼3°C during the winter. This resulted in           in the US for antifouling (though currently under a
greater annual temperature ranges (14°C) at the                routine review with the EPA), and registered for use
nearshore patch reefs (i.e. Tynes Bay) and inshore             in the EU except in Sweden, where it has recently
basins (Castle Harbour) as compared with the more              been banned. Further analysis of the antifouling
stable main terrace and outer rim coral-algal reef             paint market in Bermuda indicates private
sites (range ∼11°C). Temperature loggers are next              powerboats (4,377 registered vessels) followed by
scheduled to be downloaded in May 2006.                        private sailboats (1,111 registered vessels) represent
                                                               the dominant sectors; however, a single post-
Section 1.2. Water Quality Monitoring Program                  Panamax cruise ship has a roughly equivalent
(WQMP, Section 1.2). The WQMP commenced in                     wetted surface area to all sailboats in Bermuda.
March 2005, and monthly water samples were taken               Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ‘Explorer of the Seas’
for a suite of physico-chemical parameters (nutrients,         (a Post-Panamax ‘mega’ cruise ship visiting
salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll etc). All 2005 data, as          Bermuda in 2006) has biocide-free silicone-based
well as past results, have been entered into a                 Intersleek 757 on its bow, but the remainder of the
WQMP database. Multidimensional statistical                    vessel has Intersmooth 460 (a Tri-butyl Tin (TBT)
techniques (Principal Component Analysis, PCA)                 free, copper oxide- and zinc pyrithione-based self
were used to analyze the 2005 data and classify the            polishing copolymer paint (SPC)), and Interspeed
sites into mutually similar groups. Nitrate and nitrite,       640 which is a TBT-free, copper acrylate-based
and phosphate levels were mostly below the                     Controlled     Depletion     Polymer       (CDP)-based
detection limits for the offshore control site in the          antifouling coating. Given the recent phasing out of
north lagoon, but noticeably elevated at Mill Creek,           TBT on a near global basis, the antifouling paint
Devil’s Hole (Harrington Sound) and Hamilton                   industry is in a state of flux, and the types of paint
Harbour sites over the summer. Chlorophyll-a and               applied to vessels visiting Bermuda, especially cruise
phaeopigment concentrations were elevated at these             ships, should be followed regularly. In a small study
sites as well, showing seasonal trends and the                 of metal contamination of local sediments, elevated
formation of spring and autumn phytoplankton                   copper levels were detected in sediments in
blooms. Dissolved oxygen concentrations remained               enclosed bays with high numbers of registered
close to saturation but summertime hypoxia, and                boats. In the absence of local industry, the source of
eventual anoxia, was noted in deep water (25 m) in             the contamination is likely to be from antifouling
Harrington Sound (at Devil’s Hole), associated with            paints. In some instances, very high levels of copper
the formation of a thermally stratified layer. Further         were noted in samples taken around boatyards, most
identification of the spatial extent of suboxic bottom         probably associated with the practice of washing
water     formation    in     Harrington   Sound      is       sand-blasting grit and antifouling paint flakes into the
recommended, as is furthering the understanding of             sea. This practice is legislated against in Florida
the breakdown of the stratified layer in the late              (which has a similar tropical/subtropical marine
summer. Mill Creek is clearly identified as a                  environment), and the ecological sustainability of this
degraded environment and Harrington Sound is                   practice in Bermuda is questioned.
considered atypical based on its unusual
hydrography; however, considering its size and                 Section 1.4. Hydrological studies associated with the
connectivity with the rest of the Great Sound system,          Seabright submarine sewage outfall. Observations of
Hamilton Harbour is identified as a site of                    the Seabright submarine sewage outfall (in April
interest/concern in terms of water quality.                    2004) were made with a Remotely Operated Vehicle
Chlorophyll-a is often used as a proxy indicator of            (ROV). Dense aggregations of fish, principally
nutrient availability, and it is recommended that              Bermuda chub and jacks, were observed feeding off
chlorophyll-a concentration is measured at 6                   the waste stream. Particulate material was observed
                                                               in patches around the terminal diffuser but there was

Executive summary                                          i
                          BIOS Marine Environmental Program (MEP) Annual Report 2005/06

no evidence of a consolidated matt of organic                    Sub-Program 2 – Ecological Surveys: Status and
material or decaying material. Hydrocorals (Millepora            Trends
alcicornis) were observed growing on some of the
                                                                 Section 2.1. Long-term Video-Monitoring Program
riser jets located behind the terminal diffusers. An
                                                                 surveys were conducted in July and August 2005,
Aanderaa RCM 9 MkII Acoustic Doppler Current
                                                                 completing a second full year of study. Additional
Profiler (ADCP) current meter was deployed at mid-
                                                                 permanent monitoring sites were installed in Castle
water ∼50 m SE of the outfall from 1 Oct - 11 Nov                Harbour (based upon trial studies in 2004), and four
2004, recording current speed and direction at 10                additional temporary study sites were also examined
minute intervals, together with pressure and                     in Castle Harbour in 2005, associated with a more
temperature. Supporting meteorology was provided                 detailed study of ecological processes within the
by the Bermuda Weather Service as recorded at the                basin. Multivariate statistical analysis techniques
Bermuda International Airport. Current speeds during             (non–metric multidimensional scaling, MDS) were
deployment were typically less than 15 cm s                      used to produce maps (ordinations) of the study sites
(~0.3 knot), although for short time periods values              for the 2004 and 2005 surveys that reflect their
exceeded 25 cm s with a maximal value of                         biological similarity (in terms of species, benthic
~30 cm s (~0.6 knot). Observation of the flow                    class or species group), rather than reflecting their
direction indicates that the dominant flow directions            geographic       location.   Distinct    cross-platform
are 220-230° (SW) and 40-50° (NE). Harmonic                      distribution patterns can be detected for hard coral
analysis of the current meter observations was                   species and different benthic groups. Discrete MDS
performed by devolving the speed and direction                   clusters of sites can be identified, which correlate
measurements into orthogonal velocity vectors and                with the major physiographic reef zones in Bermuda.
using these to construct a linear equation using 4               In general, deeper water locations and more offshore
principal semi-diurnal and 4 diurnal tidal constituents.         locations cluster more tightly than the nearshore and
Modeled data were compared to recorded                           inshore locations. This suggests greater ‘between-
orthogonal vectors and showed that the ebbing flows              site’ variability in community composition closer to
tend to be the strongest to the SW, whilst during tidal          shore, probably reflecting the more varied regimes of
rise the flows tend to move weakly to the SW and/or              temperature, light, sedimentation, turbidity and wave
NE. However, it is also clear that the flow direction            action. The superimposition of bubble plots of
does not rotate at regular periods as one would                  abundance data onto the MDS ordinations allows for
expect for flows dominated by tidal forcing. Thus, the           easy visualization of the density distribution of the
tidal components were found to be weakly semi-                   dominant reef-building species, confirming the
diurnal, such that at times the overall flows fluctuated         importance of the Diploria-Montastraea-Porites
on diurnal periods. This inequality of the semi-diurnal          astreoides species assemblage but indicating distinct
characteristics partly results in a biased flow to the           differences within this species group in terms of their
SW, also likely to be a consequence of the local                 distribution across the platform and with depth.
topography and local circulation patterns such that              Monitoring sites located ∼300 m from the Seabright
tides, ebb and flood in the same direction. The                  Point sewage outfall, and likely to be in the dominant
energy balance between the tide and non-tidal                    flow directions of the waste stream, had high
forcing is approximately 50:50, with wind accounting             percentage coral cover, no obvious local
for >80% of the non-tidal energies. Short-term                   absences/deficiencies in the major coral species or
coastline impacts of a conservative model tracer                 benthic classes, and clustered tightly with the other
released from the outfall site are found to occur.               comparable control locations in the MDS ordinations.
However, for the overall 35-day deployment there                 Overall, there was no clear evidence for ecological
were only 2 days when shoreline impact was                       effects on the benthic community of the disposal of
possible. During these 2 days of net onshore                     sewage at the Seabright outfall. This probably
transport the wind was observed to be strong                     reflects the high energy, highly dissipative
(>12 m s ) from the south to southwest sector.                   environment in which the sewage is disposed and
Overall the mean residual flow from the discharge                the net (residual) flow of waste to the SW away from
site was to the SW (223º N) at 4.6 cm s-1                        the discharge point. The nearshore sites close to
(approximately 4 km/day). This represents a                      Tynes Bay on the north shore appeared anomalous,
reasonable flow away from the site, and is not                   lacking the Diploria spp. and Montastraea spp., but
towards any coastline, suggesting that it is unlikely            being dominated by Madracis mirabilis and Millepora
for there to be any long-term accumulation of                    alcicornis. This may reflect anthropogenic effects as
released material at the discharge site. Based upon              the sites are located close to densely populated
the strong directionality of the flow, long-term                 areas and to shipping channels.
ecological monitoring sites (see below) were
established on the closest reefs within the NE/SW                In the Coral Condition Monitoring Program (CCMP,
axis of the flow path, as opposed to nearest available           Section 2.2), surveys of coral disease were
reefs which seldom receive direct flow.                          conducted across the platform in mid-summer 2005.
                                                                 Over 30,000 hard and soft corals were examined
                                                                 during these surveys. As noted previously black
                                                                 band disease (BBD) and white plague (WP) in the

Executive summary                                           ii
                         BIOS Marine Environmental Program (MEP) Annual Report 2005/06

Diploria-Montastraea-Porites species group were the            part of the preliminary investigations into a new
most common diseases, and most commonly located                crossing linking the parishes of St. George’s and
on the outer rim and lagoonal patch reefs. Yellow              Hamilton. This report has its own executive
blotch disease was also common in Montastraea                  summary, which can be found on page 70.
franksi. BBD prevalence was comparatively lower on
                                                               Sub-Program 3 – Ecotoxicology and Biomarkers
the main terrace coral-algal reef, most probably
                                                               In 2005 the ecotoxicology facility at BIOS was
linked to the prominent depth effect noted before
                                                               completed, and initial experiments were undertaken
with this disease. Incidences of WP were more
                                                               in October 2005 assessing the effects of low levels
widely distributed across the platform and with depth.
                                                               of copper sulphate (0, 0.3, 3, 30 ppb) on the hard
The brain coral Diploria labryinthiformis was again
                                                               coral Montastraea franksi. Time-course studies were
noted to be virtually immune to BBD infestation, and
                                                               undertaken to see how the response to different
significantly more resistant to WP than Diploria
                                                               copper concentrations varied within and between
strigosa. There is no evidence to suggest that BBD
                                                               coral colonies. Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM)
and WP were higher in sites located closer to the
                                                               chlorophyll fluorescence techniques and gene
Seabright sewage outfall as compared with more
                                                               expression profiling using a microarray (containing
distant locations. In the summer of 2005 a major
                                                               32 genes involved in protein synthesis, apoptosis,
region-wide coral bleaching event occurred in the
                                                               cell signaling, metabolism, cellular defense and
Caribbean involving at least 13 countries, with some
                                                               inflammation) were used to evaluate the response of
islands (Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands) reporting
                                                               the corals to the toxicant. Samples from the
severe bleaching and high levels of coral mortality.
                                                               experiment are still being processed.
However, there was not a bleaching event in
Bermuda in 2005.                                               Further details of the Marine Environmental Program
                                                               can be found at or
The Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity
(CARICOMP) Program (Section 2.3) reef surveys on
the outer rim reef (Hog Breaker) were conducted in
November 2005, completing the 14 year of annual
surveys. Hard coral cover (22.7%) was slightly above
the 14 year mean (20.8%), and directly comparable
to studies of hard coral cover conducted in the early
1980s. A more detailed analysis of past CARICOMP
reef survey data indicates hard coral species
composition has also been relatively consistent since
1992, with no evidence of successional change.
Photoquadrat surveys and settlement plate studies
(Section 2.4) were completed in 2005, associated
with a more detailed study of the demographics of
coral populations in Castle Harbour. This involved (a)
a once-off study measuring the length, height and
width of ∼8,000 colonies of Diploria strigosa and
∼4,500 colonies of D. labryinthiformis at 7 locations
within and 4 locations outside of Castle Harbour, (b)
deployment (May 2005) and retrieval (October 2005)
of 400 terracotta settlement plate racks at sites
inside and outside of Castle harbour (to examine
settlement success of juvenile corals), (c) re-
photographing 24 permanent photoquadrats on each
of 2 reefs close to the airport dump and 2 more
distantly located reefs beside Tucker’s Town – to
examine the long-term fate of different sized
colonies, (d) video-surveying 4 additional pairs of
reefs (inside and outside of Castle Harbour) in
addition to the permanent Long-term Video-
monitoring sites. Data from these projects are
currently being analysed/synthesized.
Also included within Sub-Program 2 is a stand-alone
report on the benthic mapping of Castle Harbour,
Grotto Bay and Ferry Reach (Section 2.5). This
special study was carried out by the Marine
Environmental Program at BIOS for Bermuda Water
Consultants Ltd. and the Bermuda Government
Ministry of Works and Engineering and Housing as

Executive summary                                        iii

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