Bonaire’s reef will now become the benchmark for which all other coral reefs will be compared, given that research has shown Bonaire as having the highest percentage of coral cover and the lowest percentage of algal cover compared to other Caribbean reefs. Additionally, an official study revealed that Bonaire is inhabited by more species of fish than any other Caribbean island.
To collect further benchmarking data, NOAA initiated an Ocean Explorer signature exploration titled “Bonaire 2008: Exploring Coral Reef Sustainability with New Technologies,” which took place January 7-30, 2008. The expedition consisted of mapping Bonaire’s reef using methods beyond the capabilities of conventional compressed air scuba diving including technical diving with mixed gasses and using three autonomous underwater vehicles to explore greater depths, where little to no survey work has previously been conducted. This unique mapping of the biological and physical environment will document patterns of biodiversity in shallow and deep parts of the reef.
For more information about the NOAA Ocean Explorer Bonaire expedition, visit this link For more information on Bonaire, contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 1-800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire’s official web site at http://www.tourismbonaire.com/