Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rip Curl Pro event days 1 and 2

The past few days our chapter has been working hard in facilitating 4 eco-initiatives (coastal reforestation, dune protection and restoration, recycling, and outreach and education) with a host of different partners in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition at Playa Middles in Isabela.  Tomorrow, together with Rip Curl Planet, Plastic Free Ocean, Vida Marina, and DRNA we will be restoring a dune area just east of the competition site by planting sea grape, palm trees, and an assortment of other native trees.  Local students will be assisting us in this great effort.  

With relation to our second eco-initiative, dune protection, our chapter is very pleased with the walkways that we helped Vida Marina at UPRA build to prevent dune erosion.  Check out the photo below; they are a big hit!
 the western walkway

the eastern walkway 

 However, we still need more people to spread the word about the importance of only walking to the beach via these two designated entrances at the event site to prevent further damage to the Playa Middles sensitive dune complex.  These designated walkways are located on the eastern and western side of the main area at Playa Middles.

Our crew is spreading the great word about conservation and sustainability; come visit us at our booth to learn about our chapter's programs and involvement in the communities of northwest Puerto Rico!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eco preparation for Rip Curl Pro Day 5; SF Rincon and Vida Marina install more walkways

Today a group of 7 volunteers from the chapter of the Surfrider Foundation in Rincon, Vida Marina at UPRA, Rescate Playas Isabella, and the Rip Curl Planet Foundation installed some more walkways on the western side of the Middles event site.  This work is being done to reduce the impacts of pediatrician traffic on the dunes.  The pathways help by reducing dune erosion in a sustainable and aesthetic way.  Check out the photos of the new walkways below!

 James and I getting to work on the first section. 

Jim walking down the new walkway.  

The western walkway

The crew the helped with the on-site effort.  

In addition, we roped off an area on the eastern side of the event site in preparation for the tree planting on Monday, November 1st with local students, SF Rincon, Vida Marina, RPI, and the Rip Curl Planet Foundation.

Jonathan moving plants to a safe keeping spot for our Monday event. 

Angela representing

James roping off the planting areas

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eco preparation for Rip Curl Pro Day 4; SF Rincon and Vida Marina prepare more walkways

Scrambling to finish the last walkway, Jim, Santos, and I work late Tuesday night.  We hope to install the western walkway at Middles tomorrow, Thursday October 28th, with a host of volunteers from Vida Marina, SF Rincon, RPI, and the Rip Curl Planet Foundation.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Eco preparation for Rip Curl Pro Day 3; SF Rincon, Vida Marina, and Rip Curl Planet work at Middles

Yesterday, Saturday October 23rd, a group of volunteers from Surfrider Foundation Rincon, Vida Marina at UPRA, the Rip Curl Planet Foundation, and Rescate Playas Isabela worked together to plant trees and plants at Wilderness, Surfers, and Middles, install protective fencing and walkways to prevent dune erosion, and unite on a cause to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the islands precious natural resources for future generations to come.

If anyone is interested in helping we need more volunteers to help build more walkways and protective fencing, with upcoming plantings, with the on-site recycling effort, and helping to spread the positive environmental message that this work represents. Contact us at

Check out this video from the past 3 events of our effort to help reduce the impacts this event could have on the environment.

Below are some photos from the coastal reforestation effort. This is another initiative inspired by the Rip Curl Planet Foundation and facilitated by SF Rincon. Our chapter is working hard to implement this and many other actions that can help reduce the environmental footprint of this event. These actions transpire into a positive multi-participatory environmental movement to inspire the people of Puerto Rico to work with us towards conservation, protection, and the enjoyment of our oceans, waves, and beaches.
The chapter has put 215 plants in the ground to date as part of our initiative to reduce coastal erosion, stabilize dune habitat, create new habitat, and offset carbon emissions. The next planting is scheduled for November 1st 2010 at Playa Middles at 8 am.
This is a satellite image of Playa Middles with the plants/trees we have planted to date. Note; this satellite images is out dated but still serves as a representation of the exact area we have planted over the past few events. The significance of this is that it reminds us that the morphology of our coastlines are ever changing and necessitates the need for increased dune restoration and coastal reforestation to save our beaches.

This is one of the three planting areas we installed at Wilderness yesterday. These are commonly known as the tropical almond tree or almendra in spanish.

This is one of the groups of volunteers that worked during yesterday's event. This crew planted more than 215 plants in one day! The other crew worked closely with Vida Marina at Middles to install more protective fencing and walkways to deter dune erosion. See photos below.

This is the protective fencing at the western end of the Middles event site. The walkways will be installed later this week in collaboration with Vida Marina and the Rip Curl Planet Foundation.

Here, Angie from Rip Curl, fastens the upper portion of the rope that fences in the walkway. Thanks Angie!

Contact Surfrider Foundation Rincon to learn about ways to help in the upcoming events and during the event window. Email us at
Surfrider Foundation Rincon

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Save a reef, eat Lionfish!

October 20, 2010, 7:41 am

New Weapon Against Invading Fish: The Pan

As human commerce and mobility act like a great global Waring blender for biology, communities around the world are grappling with the impacts of waves of introduced and invasive species.
Fish present particular challenges, with the Great Lakes girding for  the arrival of Asian carp and lionfish, escapees from the tropical fish trade that sport fans of toxin-tipped spines, spreading in the Caribbean and up the East Coast as far as Long Island.
Recognizing the near impossibility of stopping these invasions, residents of affected regions and some biologists are shifting tactics and encouraging folks  to catch, kill and eat them.

Click here for the full article

Below is a photo of a Lionfish at Turromote reef in La Parguera in 45' of water.  We encountered the fish during class today along one of our transects.  To say the least, I think the professor ate well tonight!   

Save a reef, eat Lionfish!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eco preparation for Rip Curl Pro Day 2; Surfrider Foundation Rincon and Vida Marina work at Middles

Today a crew of 13 activists, with the chapter of Surfrider Foundation in Rincon and representatives of Vida Marina at UPR Aguadilla, helped get over 300 plants/trees that the chapter ordered from the Isabela DRNA vivero to UPR Aguadilla.  The plants are going to be used for a coastal reforestation project at Wilderness, Surfers, and Middles.  The first part of the planting will take place this Saturday at 8 am at Wilderness then Surfers, and lastly Middles.

In addition, the chapter installed some protective fencing to minimize dune and coastal vegetative erosion at Middles today and began preparing some planting areas for the November 1st planting that will take place as a multi-participatory event including Rip Curl, Rip Curl Planet, Plastic Free Ocean, Surfrider Foundation Rincon, DRNA, and area schools.  Contact if your interested in helping.  

Angela taking tally of the more than 300 plants/trees that we received in an order the chapter placed from DRNA. The plants are being kept at Vida Marina's greenhouse at UPR Aquadilla.


Before and after shots of one of the areas that we are going to plant based on suggestions from a field biologist at DRNA.  We will be planting this bluff, and other areas, on November 1st. 

This is an example of the walkways we helped Vida Marina build and will be placing between the protective fencing we installed today at Middles.  We are collaborating with Vida Marina from UPR Aguadilla to mobilize these resources and put them into action.   

It is tough to see the difference between this before and after shot but if you look closely you can see the fencing that we installed to prevent dune and coastal vegetation erosion in the middle of the picture. 

This is a more clear shot of the protective fencing.  The walkways will be placed in the middle.  We would like to thank Vida Marina for giving our chapter the opportunity to puts these resources into action. 

Here is the crew that helped make Day 2 of our Rip Curl Pro preparation initiative happen. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eco preparation for Rip Curl Pro Day 1; Surfrider Foundation and Vida Marina de UPR Aquadilla

This past weekend, Wessley Merten and Roger Galloza, representatives of the Surfrider Foundation Rincon chapter helped Vida Marina of UPR Aquadilla and a host of student volunteers build wooden walkways and discuss an action plan for minimizing the impacts 1000s of fans watching the Rip Curl Pro Surfing competition, scheduled to take place at the end of this month at Middles, impose on the sensitive coastal and dune habitat.  Check the photos below of the volunteers that are making this happen.  The chapter is planning on working with Vida Marina to install all of these walkways by next weekend including some protective fencing to guard sensitive areas in highly trafficked areas.  If you would like to help in this effort contact our chapter at

Dr. Robert Mayer, Director of the Caribbean Center for the Reduction of Aquatic Debris at the Department of Natural Sciences at UPR Aguadilla discusses the work plan with some student volunteers.

Wess Merten cutting 2x4's and 2x6's to be used to build the wooden walkways.

Roger Galloza and Santos Muniz, a doctoral student in the Department of Marine Sciences, take a break from building the walkways to smile for the camera.  

This is just the tip of the iceburg of the resources the chapter will be mobilizing with Vida Marina to protect the dunes from potentially catastrophic pedestrian damage.

Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean Basin

For those of you that venture into the marine realm you may have noticed something different about our reefs this year.  That is the reefs around Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean basin including the Gulf of Mexico are experiencing a bleaching event.  It is extremely hard to predict what is going to transpire with this event and overall scientists haven't determined whether or not it will be worse than the massive event in 2005.  During 2005, heightened sea surface temperatures for an extended period of the year lead to significant bleaching amongst many different species of corals in the Caribbean sea.  Coral bleaching can be defined as coral polyps that have lost their symbiont algae aka zooxanthellae that live within the polyp.  The pigments in the zooxanthellae are what give corals their different colors, therefore when the algae are absent from the polyps the corals turn white and are rendered more or less dormant until zooxanthellae can re-populate the polyps (if/when depending on the environmental stresses).  There are many unknowns related to bleaching.  For example, what species are more susceptible i.e. deep corals vs. shallow corals?...are the affects of  bleaching dependent upon morphology and level of arrangement of the polyps?  Does the polyp rid the algae or does the algae rid itself from the polyp?  These are many of the questions many scientists around the world are looking into answering.

A bleached boulder brain coral colony in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve taken on October 17th 2010.

  This is another example of a bleached coral colony (massive starlet coral) with still some zooxanthellae held within some polyps (darker areas).  This photo was taken at Turromote in La Parguera on October 14th 2010.