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The Caribbean

R:The Caribbean is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some
surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and
the North Atlantic Ocean), and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of
the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and
north of South America.
M: Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700
islands, islets, reefs, and cays. These islands generally form island arcs that
delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean
islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the
south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger
West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising The
Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) north of the Greater Antilles and Caribbean
Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries of Belize, Guyana, and Suriname may
be included.

R:The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the
region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba
(possessing only minor volcanic features), Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands,
Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountainranges like the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica,
Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola,
Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago.
M: Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin
Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater
Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes
Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles. The climate of
the area is tropical but rainfall varies with elevation, size, and water currents (cool
upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently
from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands.
Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region
enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into 'dry' and 'wet' seasons, with the last six
months of the year being wetter than the first half.

R: The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their animals, fungi and
plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International's biodiversity

hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems,


ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. The region also contains
about 8% (by surface area) of the world's coral reefs[17] along with extensive
seagrass meadows,[18] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine
waters bordering island and continental coasts off the region.
R: The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their animals, fungi and
plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International's biodiversity
hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems,
ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. The region also contains
about 8% (by surface area) of the world's coral reefs[17] along with extensive
seagrass meadows,[18] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine
waters bordering island and continental coasts off the region.

M: For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived
from specimens in reference collections, published accounts and field observations.
That checklist includes more than 11250 species of fungi recorded from the region.
As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total
number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total
number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet
recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about
7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered. Though the amount of available
information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of
fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi
have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island; for Puerto Rico,
the number is 789 species; for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;
for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.

R:1. The Caribbean comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and caves. The
islands are divided into different island groups. Theres

the Lucayan Archipelago (f.e. the Bahamas)


the Greater Antilles (f.e. Cuba)
the Lesser Antilles, with sub island groups the Leeward Antilles (f.e. Aruba), the
Leeward Islands (f.e.Antigua) and the Windward Islands (f.e. Grenada)

Source: Flickr tribbles1971

M:2. About only 2% of the Caribbean Islands is actually inhabited.

R:3. Most of the inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands are descendants of African slaves
who were brought to the islands by European colonial powers to work on the sugar
plantation. They stayed on the islands after the slavery had ended.

Source: Flickr Kamoteirs (A New Beginning)

M:4. Dominant languages in the Caribbean region are Spanish, English, Dutch, Haitian
Creole and Papiamento
R:5. Parts of all four Pirates of the Caribbean movies (The Curse of the Black Pearl,
Dead Mans Chest, At Worlds End and On Stranger Tides), starring Johnny Depp,
Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, were filmed in the Caribbean.

Source: Flickr NeitherFanboy

M:6. Jamaica was the scene of the very first James Bond film, Dr. No.

Source: Flickr ThomashDevenishek

R:7. The shortest runway on earth, not more than 1,300 feet long, can be found at the
Caribbean island of Saba.

Source: Flickr Serge Melki