Last Saturday was a very big day for all of us. It was the day where all of the research and work that we had done in the past three months culminated to a big Research Symposium. During the Research Symposium, each research group gave presentations about their research, booths, and posters. This was a little different from the presentations we did during Parent’s Weekend because we were presenting all of our work to people who could look at our results and make change in the Bahamas, and in the world. The Bahamian Minister of Environment attended the symposium as well as Friends of the Environment, BREEF, and many other NGOs. To see these people listen to and think critically about our research made me appreciate and feel proud of all of the work we accomplished these past few months. Continue reading
Dear Proud Parents,
We circled up at noon; I was moved to tell your children in the more intimate moment of our small circle how proud I am of the good work that has been accomplished. Yesterday after the research presentations we gathered in Hallig House to listen to key note speakers share impressions. Eric Carey, Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust, is big in stature and huge in spirit and brutally honest; he was “blown away” by the work. Eric mentioned specifically the turtle project at Half Sound and the conch research as monumental and pioneering efforts that will encourage (he used the word force) the government to enact laws to protect and conserve these vital habitats and endangered species. As a boy growing up in Tarpum Bay he confirmed the story retold by the research team, ” when I was young we would go to Sandy Cay and load our boat with 100s of conch that sat dry at low tied and if you go back now you can not find a single conch.”
Next to speak, Mr. Sandy Mactaggart, Chancellor Emeritus University of Alberta. Sandy has dedicated his full and extremely successful life to save beautiful places; he realized that the work here by young scientists proved beyond a doubt that education as it continues to exist is tragically flawed. He then shared a story; I encourage you to read the link, http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/introbook2.1/x874.html . Your children are producers of knowledge, they have stretched to ask and answer new questions and they are well tested and confident — watch out world!
Last to speak was the Honorable Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment, Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Continue reading
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By: Korinna Garfield, Sam Hastings, Atalanta von der Schulenburg, Maggie Bland, & Nathaniel Millard
Hello! We are team Patch! On this research project we are looking at the spatial and temporal abundance of fish species in Eleuthera, here in the Bahamas. Patch reefs are transitional juvenile habitats for fish after their early life in mangroves. One of the main reasons we are conducting this research, is to see if it is necessary that an MPA be established near Cape Eleuthera, based upon the fish population and habitat trends in the area. We hypothesize that patch reefs will have a higher fish biomass the closer they are to mangroves, there will be an increase in lionfish (an invasive species), and Continue reading
Sea turtles are on the endangered species Red List. The most common species of turtle found in the Bahamas is the green turtle, which we are studying. Previous studies in the Bahamas have included nutrition, grazing, growth rates, and abundance, but none have been conducted on Eleuthera. Our study is currently being conducted just north of Rock Sound in Half Sound, on the Atlantic side of the island. The purpose of our study is to investigate the abundance, size, and distribution of green sea turtles in Half Sound and our hypothesis is that areas with an abundance of sea grass will have dense turtle populations. We have two main methods that we’ve used so far in order to catch these turtles. The first is by boat, in which we take a small skiff to Half Sound. We ride Continue reading
Two weeks ago the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) harvested over one hundred black penshells from a beautiful beach at Ten Bay, located near Palmetto Point. Penshells are a kind of scallop, and we aim to culture them here at CEI for a of couple reasons. As filter feeders, penshells thrive in water with higher nutrients, using the nutrients to grow and as a result clean the surrounding water. Currently, we have our collected penshells in two separate groups: one group in the wet lab in a flow through tank, and another group in a small cage about 100m off the beach where our main pump intake is. In the lab, we feed the penshells concentrated microalgae, whereas the group out in the ocean does not get fed. We are monitoring both groups daily, by recording temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity.
Once both groups are acclimated and showing good growth rates, we are going to attempt to breed them and raise penshells into maturity. We plan on putting the resulting stock in the mangrove Continue reading
CEI Research Assistants, Brendan Talwar and Ian Rossiter created a stop motion film during their time as interns last spring. The video was so impressive and got such great review from everyone on Cape Eleuthera that they decided to enter it in the 2012 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and made it to the finals of the animated category! Last night they had the honor of showing a sneak peek of their video to world-renowned oceanography and friend of The Island School, Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Good luck the rest of the weekend, Brendan and Ian–we’re rooting for you!
Last week the Bahamas National Trust hosted Kristal Ambrose, Aquaponics Technician at Cape Eleuthera Institute, as a public meeting guest speaker. The topic for the evening featured her internship to study plastics in the North Pacific Western Garbage Patch, an area highly concentrated with plastic debris and an environmental issue only just beginning to be studied by scientists. Kristal recounted her expedition, which sought to answer questions that explore what happens to plastics that enter the ocean, from ingestion by marine life, to absorption of harmful pollutants. The opportunity to share this experience with a Bahamian audience was especially important to Kristal, as her primary goal following this study is to find real solutions through education, research and outreach projects in her home country. After peaking the interest of one attendee at the BNT meeting, Kristal was approached to also share her experience with students at St. Andrews School where she spoke to two classes on Friday.
Kristal’s study was supported by the BNT, Bahamas Reef Environment Foundation (BREEF) and The Nature Conservancy, all of whom were represented at the meeting Continue reading
Research classes kicked off this week for The Island School students. On Tuesday, students broke into their 8 different research groups and spent the afternoon getting to know their research advisors–members of the research team at the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI). They also learned about the study they would be working on for the next 3 months. Thursday afternoon was their first field block, where they got out on the water or into the lab for the first time! The 8 studies being conducted this semester focus on shark ecology & physiology, the impact of climate change on bonefish & mangrove flats species, lionfish & reef fish population ecology, and sea turtle & conch abundance & distribution around South Eleuthera. These studies are well-established areas of research at CEI and as a result, many visitors and collaborators will be visiting our campus over the next few weeks to share their knowledge and expertise with the students.
Research class is an exciting opportunity for students to gain new skills in the field – from fish identification and handling to public speaking and PowerPoint creation. Students learn about and contribute to global conservation issues, work in small groups, and ultimately, have the experience of a lifetime!