The Underwater World of Curaçao

This video shows the complex and diverse ecosystem that is created by corals. Study species Montastraea faveolata was surveyed on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in May 2013 can be seen here as the abundant framework-building coral in this video. Coral reef ecosystems are critically important reservoirs of biodiversity in coastal, shallow-water tropical and sub-tropical marine environments and serve as cornerstone species in these environments. Yet, they are also one of the most threatened marine ecosystems on the planet. Current threats have created an urgency to understand the nature of environmental and anthropogenic stress effects on corals. The first essential step to do this is to characterize a “healthy” coral. The goal of this research is to create a quantitative and qualitative baseline for what is a “healthy” coral. This baseline is vitally important as a comparative standard for determining how factors such as ocean acidification, increase in sea surface temperature, disease, and nutrient and sediment loading affect coral health.

Video was shot by Colleen Cook, Instructional Resources Coordinator, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning /ATLAS Instructional Resources, in coordination with the Bruce Fouke Lab

Research funded by the Fouke Lab Group, the Illinois Department of Geology, the Roscoe Jackson Award for Research Travels, and the Illinois Graduate College Master’s Travel Grant.