Puerto Rico is an island gifted with a fascinating array of ecosystems. Our important ecosystems are responsible for the creation of beautiful natural landscapes and the preservation of a huge array of land and marine life.
So what exactly is an ecosystem? An ecosystem can be defined as an interacting system of plants, animals and humans and their surrounding physical environment; creating a balance in which each creature is dependent from each other.
The importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems is immeasurable. In their own unique way, they provide food and shelter for all different types of fish, birds, plants, mammals, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, reptiles and humans!
You'll see lots of Pelicans!
For instance, the submerged roots of a red mangrove provide protection for many species of fish during their juvenile stages. Higher up in the tree, mangroves serve as a nesting area for many species of birds such as herons, egrets and pelicans. Birds help maintain a controlled amount of baitfish, which by transitory effect, help maintain an abundance of plankton.
Every living creature has a purpose within an ecosystem. For example, a parrotfish uses its teeth to rasp algae from reefs; constantly digesting small pieces of coral. Once digested, the small pieces of coral released by the Parrotfish are eventually washed up to shore by underwater currents, helping to form sandy beaches, which in turn provide important nesting grounds for several endangered species of reptiles such as the leatherback and hawksbill turtles.
Humans, animals and plants all depend on the health of our ecosystems on a daily basis. Therefore, it is in our hands to protect and conserve them for future generations.
How Can You Help?
There are many ways to help protect our marine ecosystem. Here is a basic list to get you started.
Recycling reduces the demand on our natural resources and saves valuable landfill space. By recycling you will also help out reduce global warming.
Dispose your trash properly and do not leave trash at the beach. Trash specially plastics, are lethal for many species in the ocean. Turtles love jellyfish, a plastic bag floating at sea can be mistaken as a jellyfish by an ignorant turtle, causing a turtle to choke and die. Besides affecting marine life; who wants to go relax at a beach filled with stinky trash?
Avoid marine pollution
Using fewer household chemicals, especially on your lawn or garden, or in your kitchen or bathroom, can help prevent marine pollution. Avoid dumping oils in the ground especially close to shore. Oils will eventually reach the ocean carried by rain run-off, killing corals and other organisms.
Respect our bird’s habitat
When visiting mangrove channels avoid unnecessary loud noises. Yelling and screaming in these areas will provoke birds to abandon their nest leaving behind a pack of baby birds with no food.
Inform yourself on local laws for fishing and hunting
Do not take or kill protected animals, as they may be endangered. If you intend to eat your catch, please take only what YOU need. Do not kill species that you are not going to eat. Even when the bite is good, please do not take more than what you should.
Don’t buy coral or shells
They were taken live, killed for novelty. Advise shell vendors to STOP! AVOID freeze-dried puffers & seahorses. This crime against nature cannot continue.
Join group trash clean-ups
Group trash clean ups are an exiting, educational and fulfilling activity for the whole family and just a great way to give back to our surroundings. Join Kayaking Puerto Rico’s beach trash cleanups! Spread the Word! Inform others about why and how to protect our ecosystems.
Visit us on Facebook for information about our next trash clean ups!
Percy and Dalberto
Why We Do It…
Old toothbrushes, beach toys and plastic bags are part of a vast vortex of plastic trash in the middle of the world’s oceans, threatening sea creatures that get tangled in it, eat it or ride on it.
Plastic...the Sea Turtle's enemy.
Because plastic doesn't break down the way organic material does, ocean currents and tides have carried it thousands of miles.
According to the study made by the international environmental group Greenpeace,"Plastic Debris in the World's Oceans”. Two hundred and sixty seven ( 267) species including seabirds, turtles, seals, dolphins, whales, fish, and other endangered species are known to continuously have suffered from entanglement or ingestion of marine debris.
Once again, is in our hands to control and stop this contamination affecting our marine ecosystems throughout the world. Kayaking Puerto Rico’s invites you to make a difference, and help protect our beautiful sea life!
Whether you swim, snorkel, scuba, or freedive; please help protect our Caribbean reefs. Leave shells and carcasses where you find them. Although no longer part of a living creature, they often provide habitat and/or food for new life passing by.Coral ReefCorals are colonies of very small animals that may take hundreds of years to form the structures visible today.
Simply touching corals to see what they feel like can cause the death of an entire colony. Oils from your skin can disturb the delicate mucous membranes that protect the animals from disease. If feeding coral is startled, it retracts for protection and in doing so is unable to feed.
Don't walk upon or stand on coral, as this can kill the living coral polyps that are the builders of the reef structure. Consider a reef snorkel flotation device (placed under chest) if you're not the best of swimmers and never stand on coral to adjust mask. Swim well and clear of the reef and kick to keep head out without the possibility of kicking the reef, or search for a sandy or coral free shallow place to stand. Don't touch, pickup or hold reef life, and never pull octopus from their habitats.
Picking up trash is nice. Picking up plastic is critical. Sea turtles see plastic bags as jellyfish. Some try to eat them & choke.
Remove monofilament line & net from the beach & water. Turtles & others get tangled & drown. Snorkel reefs may be fished. If you see snagged monofilament line, pull it out gently, put it in your pocket & carry it to a trash can.
Sunscreen kills coral polyps. Wear a T shirt for upper-body UV protection & a swim cap for scalp UV protection.