In association with Microwave Telemetry, Inc. and the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, Edd Brooks and CEI’s Shark Research and Conservation program have discovered new findings while studying the migratory behaviors of ocean whitetip sharks that can help shape conservation strategies. Some sharks spend extended time periods in the protected waters of The Bahamas yet roam long distances when they leave. For the full article, read below or click here.
As the nations of the world prepare to vote on measures to restrict international trade in endangered sharks in early March, a team of researchers has found that one of these species – the oceanic whitetip shark – regularly crosses international boundaries. Efforts by individual nations to protect this declining apex predator within their own maritime borders may therefore need to be nested within broader international conservation measures.
The research team, which included researchers from Microwave Telemetry, Inc., the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, attached pop-up satellite archival tags to one male and 10 female mature oceanic whitetip sharks off Cat Island in The Bahamas in May 2011, and monitored the sharks for varying intervals up to 245 days. The tags recorded depth, temperature, and location for pre-programmed periods of time. At the end of the time period, the tags self-detached from the sharks, and reported the data to orbiting satellites. Their findings, published online today in the journal PLOS ONE, show that some of these sharks roamed nearly 2,000 kilometers from the spot where they were caught, but all individuals returned to The Bahamas within a few months.
“While the oceanic whitetip shark is one of the most severely overexploited shark species, it is also among the least studied because Continue reading →
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 →
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!
Dr. Mark Hixon plus four graduate students have been conducting lionfish research at CEI this summer. Dr. Hixon is the most cited coral reef biologist in the last decade and recently gave a TED talk about the lionfish invasion.
Mark and his team our the first long-term residents in Hallig House. He speaks about his experience at CEI in the video below. Mark will return later in August with Carl Safina and a film crew in tow. They will be shooting an episode for Saving the Ocean.
The Aquaponics research team at The Cape Eleuthera Institute has successfully hatched nearly two thousand tilapia eggs. Eggs were removed from the mouths of the female brood stock and transferred to a larval rearing device known as a McDonald Jar where they were maintained at a water temperature of 27°C. Tilapia are mouth brooders; upon fertilization of eggs the female scoops all of the eggs into her mouth and incubates them for 3-5 days. After spending four days in the McDonald Jar, the eggs had a near 100% successful hatch rate and transformed into fry. They have officially been introduced into the aquaponics system and are doing FANTASTIC!
I’m Grace Dennis, one of the shark interns for the summer. I’m from Houston, TX and study Environmental Biology and Economics at Colgate University. This is my third summer on Eleuthera and I love it here. I first came to the Island School as a student for Summer Term 2010, then again last summer as a shark intern to work on the nurse shark mating project. This summer I’m lucky to be working on all three shark projects, the nurse shark mating project, Ian’s lemon shark predator and prey project, and Edd’s stress physiology project.
Currently shark team is very excited about retrieving a satellite tag, which just spent 8 months on a reef shark. Continue reading →
As I arrived in Nassau Airport on July 6th, I remember finding refuge among the small group of other teens wearing olive green Earthwatch shirts. We were all a bit awkward at first – waiting quietly for the last few people to arrive and to fly to Rock Sound Airport. None of us really knew what to expect: all we knew was that the water was a special cerulean blue that can be found nowhere back home, and we were all just waiting for the chance to jump into the ocean sporting our newly bought snorkel, mask, and fins.
What we found at the Island School was something none of us expected. The sustainability of the Cape Eleuthera Island Research Institute seemed more efficient than the “top-notch green” movements that sweep through our hometowns Continue reading →
The aquaculture program here is running essentially a model system for the commercial aquaculture industry; we aim to display that (delicious) carnivorous fish, cobia in our case, can be farmed in the Bahamas in an ecologically and economically sustainable fashion. Just last week we moved all of the juvenile cobia (around 1,000 fish) from the wet lab into the cage, which was quite an impressive feat. I don’t know why little fish would fight going into a huge shark resistant cage in the ocean to be fed every day, but fight they did. Though, with the help of pretty much the entire staff here at CEI the process went very smoothly. While one team transferred the cobia to two 1,400 L (~400 gal) totes to be anesthetized with clove oil, another team prepared another two totes onboard the aptly named research vessel, the Cobia, and waited at the marina down the road. The initial two totes were driven over, and the fish were transferred with nets to the totes on the Cobia. Some of the fish didn’t feel like consuming the clove oil and being calm apparently, so this part was very slippery and prickly (cobia have spines) for us humans. All the fish were moved safely though, and we drove the boat out to the cage.
In order to put the fish in the submerged SeaStation cage, we crafted a “toilet” of sorts: a bucket with Continue reading →
This week, the CEO of Orvis, Perk Perkins, cruised through Cape Eleuthera. Perk is on a sabbatical from Orvis and is spending his time sailing throughout the Caribbean. He stopped by The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute to check out the work we are doing down here. He is most interested in CEI’s research on bonefish and the study of their flats habitat. We hope to stay in touch with Perk in the future so that he may help guide us as CEI becomes a hub for flats research in The Bahamas. The next stop on his tour of the Caribbean is the Exumas and CEI’s Aaron Shultz was lucky enough to accompany him on this leg of the trip. We hope Perk comes back to visit us again soon!