Research and Monitoring at Roches Noires
First step: a rapid inventory
A rapid inventory of the lagoon was carried out in 2010. This inventory was designed to validate the main area of Volunteer Roches Noires, increase our knowledge of the marine environment and the different habitats present in the lagoon of Roches Noires. Biological data collected allowed us to produce a map of the different ecosystems present in this lagoon. The seagrass ecosystem and algae is represented mainly in the lagoon. A diversity of habitats and species is noted inside the Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA), comprising of seagrass beds, algae and corals.
A series of field trips were organized in April-May 2012 to map he various habitats present inside the VMCA. The Roches Noires VMCA is a non-homogeneous site with important seagrass beds and patch reefs, which are located mainly in an area sheltered from the currents. This mapping exercise will be used the development of monitoring methodologies that will begin during the second half of 2012.
Outlook and future steps
An ecological assessment will be carried out in the second half of 2012. The main objectives of this assessment are:
1. Assess the health of coral reefs looking for diversity and abundance of corals and to monitor the water quality in the lagoon
2. Assess the reproductive capacity of existing reefs