Silencing of the Reefs, Silverbank, Dominican Republic

Field trip with TBA21 Academy to the Silver Bank off the coast of Dominican Republic to record the health of the reef ecosystems.

Find information about Coral Reefs at NOAAs website here.


The barrier reef (though in ruins) breaks the swell and makes it calm on the inside, making it possible for the whales to give birth here in security. I can only imagine what these coral reef environments must have looked and sounded like 50 years ago, when they were still alive. It is very sad to swim in amongst these lifeless skeletal formations, which still keep up the defenses for the whales. The remaining corals are still home to a dwindling fish population which are stalked daily by spear welding fishermen..

8 hours a day underwater. Breathing compressed air from the surface. Spearing parrotfish and anything else that moves. Nothing escapes. Fishing down the chain of the ecosystem. Guys that rather could be diving guides, you will not find stronger divers, parrotfish could live to be big mamas, algae would get eaten, coral can grow...

In the areas on the outskirts of the bank, where there is far less fishing, the coral is growing back. Fish population much more diverse. The sounds more complex and it was even possible to identify fish calls. Did a 30 minutes 4 channel recording as we drifted over the coral heads.

Ruben also collected samples of coral at this site to bring back to the local coral nursery, where they can grow and multiply. After a couple of years they will be put back to populate and revigorate the reefs with healthy genotypes.

Find Rubén Torres postings from the field trip on the Domincan Republic Reef Check site here.

Link to Reef Check International here.

Information about the Lion fish invation in the Caribbean here.

More links:

Coral reefs in Norway here.

Jana Winderen: Freeze to Melt