The reefs at Samana – a modern comparison

We reached Samana, in the very northeast of the island of Hispañola. This natural bay was a 17th century pirate hangout. We are here because the site is very similar in geography to how the Enriquillo bay would have looked 7,000 years ago — open to the ocean to the east, very sheltered, flanked on either side by mountains, with high run-off and sedimentation. It is critical we make our fossil and modern samples as comparable as possible in order to measure changes over time. We are therefore sampling the sediments in the reef crests and the fore-reef of fringing reefs around the Bay — just as we did in the Enriquillo basin. We were very surprised to see healthy-looking staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in this region. Four years ago it did not look like this.

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