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 →
On Saturday, January 5th, over 120 Island School alumni, alumni parents, faculty, faculty alumni, and friends of The Island School gathered at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel in Boston, MA for the first semester-wide reunion in 2 years! The day started off with a strenuous psycho led by the one and only Chris Maxey. The fearless leader led the 35 morning exercise participants along the downtown Harbor Walk (and through the snow!), stopping to do “Nellas”, dips, 8-counts, and of course everyone’s favorite, Island School jumping jacks. To say that we stood out and got a few strange looks would be an understatement!
After morning exercise, attendees had the opportunity to catch up with familiar faces and meet new friends before settling down with lunch to hear from our guest speakers. Cape Eleuthera Institute’s Edd Brooks spoke about his PhD shark research and his partnership with the New England Aquarium’s John Mandelman, PhD.
John focuses on the conservation physiology of marine fishes, predominantly elasmobranchs (the sharks, rays and skates) and their lethal and sublethal blood chemical responses to anthropogenic stressors – such as fishing capture and handling, and acoustic stress – in marine fishes. He is currently partnering up with Edd Brooks and CEI’s Shark Research & Conservation Program. Together they delivered a very interesting presentation that gave alumni an update on the type of research going on at CEI, and also how CEI is moving forward and partnering up with other successful organizations with the New England Aquarium. After Edd and John’s presentation, everyone had a chance to catch up some more, visit the Aquarium, and visit some of the aquarium’s scientists’ wet labs. At the end of the day, alumni left the Marriott and split into their respective semesters for dinner and other evening plans.
Thank you all who came to the reunion and made it such a success! We can’t wait to get everyone back together again! To see more photos from Saturday, see our Flickr album here.
Miss out on this reunion? Make sure you update us with your contact information so that you don’t miss out again! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last spring, CEI interns, Brendan Talwar and Ian Rossiter, created a short film about the endangerment of sharks to share with the public at the Governor’s Harbour Agricultural Expo. They used a unique method of film making called stop motion, which requires taking thousands and photos and stringing them together to create motion. The result of their efforts was incredibly impressive–so much so that it caught the attention of famous French underwater videographer (and former member of Jacque Cousteau’s prestigious dive team), Didier Noirot during his visit to the Cape Eleuthera Institute in April. Didier helped Brendan and Ian perfect the film and encouraged them to submit the film to a festival. This summer, their short film was chosen as a finalist in the 2012 BLUE Ocean Film Festival in the Animated category. Brendan and Ian will be attending the festival along with Edd Brooks, CEI’s shark project manager, September 24-30 in Monterey, CA. Below is the trailer for their film, “The Story of Sharks”. Good luck to Brendan and Ian!
Early Monday morning Shark & Flats week were off after a busy camp exploring the mangrove flats ecosystem in South Eleuthera.
The flats week students not only worked alongside our Flats researchers all through the week, but also had the opportunity to go bonefishing with some of the local fishermen of Rock Sound and Savannah Sound. In doing this, they got a taste of some of the local ideas in conservation of the mangrove flats ecosystem and protection of bonefish as well as other species that spend all or just part of their life there.
The Shark week students spent a good amount of time in the field setting longlines and drum lines for juvenile lemon sharks and their predators. They were very successful in tagging and recapture of juvenile lemons, having caught 7 in one day at a nearby creek. They were also able to use their findings to relate to other juvenile lemon shark studies from the Bimini Biological Field Station.
On the last day, both shark and flats presented to their fellow campers and Continue reading →
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 →
Each research group is continuing to make progress in preparation for our group introductions on Saturday. Introductions are short PowerPoint presentations where each project answers the question: Why does our research matter?
Of course being in deep water sharks is super cool. We get to study different shark species using The Medusa – a high-tech video camera designed to dive up to 2000 feet underwater, lent to us by Edith Widder at National Geographic. But what’s even cooler about my research project is how little humans know about what I’m studying!
At home, whenever I was given a research paper or project to do in science class, there was a definite ending point and answer to the project. Continue reading →
The joint CEI and University of Illinois shark research team just returned from the second of four, 2 week field expeditions to a shallow bank known as “the bridge” that connects the southern tip of Eleuthera to the northern tip of Cat Island. The first expedition went out in November 2011. The historical project is re-creating a study from a dataset detailing the diversity and abundance of shark populations in The Bahamas that took place over 30 years ago. Back then it was conducted by Captain Steve Connett and the crew of the R/V Geronimo from St Georges, Rhode Island. The current study is conducting surveys identical to those performed by Captain Connett and his crew 33 years ago, and has already discovered some very interesting results. In the original dataset, 96 sharks from six species were captured during 25 scientific longline sets. In just 12 sets, we have already caught 84 sharks from three species! Continue reading →
My name is Jason and last semester I came to CEI as an intern with the Lionfish program. While working here I got to work on things ranging from catching deepwater sharks to installing new netting on the aquaculture cage to performing monthly surveys looking at the impact of lionfish on reef fish populations. I also got the chance to act as a teaching assistant for the lionfish research class at The Island School and teach students the scientific method and how to investigate ecological questions.
After my internship I decided to take the opportunity to come back to CEI as a research assistant. I still do some of the same things (data collection in the field), but I also gained many new responsibilities. I moved from a teaching assistant to a full-blown co-teacher for the lionfish research class. I am also conducting an independent project on the topic of my choosing to investigate something about the marine world that surrounds us here at CEI.
My name is Mike Piersiak and I came to CEI last semester as an intern with the Shark Research and Conservation Program. My main focus was to gain as much knowledge as I could regarding not only my specific area of interest (sharks), but also knowledge about the other research projects taking place here. Continue reading →
Last week members of the Cape Eleuthera Institute attended the 5th Abaco Science Alliance Conference. Every two years Friends of the Environment host this conference that showcases research being done on the areas of natural history and environmental science of Abaco and The Bahamas. This two day event was held in Marsh Harbour and addressed a wide range of subjects, from cave formations to migrating birds.
CEI’s aquaculture manager, Marie Tarnowski, presented on the development of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program at CEI and Annabelle Brooks, Research Manager at CEI, presented findings on lemon shark abundances in mangrove creeks around South Eleuthera. CEI’s Flats manager, Liane Nowell, presented a poster that focused on bonefish handling practices and the bonefish tagging program while Josh Shultz, Aquaponics manager at CEI, presented a poster that focused on developing aquaponics in The Bahamas. This was the first time anyone from the Cape Eleuthera Institute had presented at the Abaco Science Alliance. All attendees from CEI had a great time not only learning about other facets of research in The Bahamas, but also sharing our own novel research and making great connections. Representatives from CEI look forward to attending future Abaco Science Alliance Conferences.
The Geronimo, an experiential education vessel operated by St. George’s School from Newport, Rhode Island, under the direction of Captain Stephen Connett, conducted shark research cruises from the early 1970′s through to the mid 1990′s throughout the western Atlantic. From autumn 1979 through to spring 1981, regular seasonal surveys were conducted in Bahamian waters focusing on a shallow bank known as “the bridge” that connects the southern tip of Eleuthera to the northern tip of Cat Island. The data resulting from these surveys, representing a snapshot of Bahamian shark abundance from over 30 years ago, have never been rigorously analyzed or published. Edd Brooks, manager of the Shark Research and Conservation Program at CEI, is collaborating with Stephen Connett and Jeff Stein (University of Illinois) to recreate these surveys over the next two years, with the goal of identifying potential shifts in the diversity, abundance and demographic population structure of sharks in the North East Exuma Sound over the last 30 years. The first field season took place earlier this month and Edd, Jeff, and Stephen successfully completed surveys of the bridge with the assistance of two Bahamas Environmental Stewards Scholars, Ann Marie Carroll and Brandon Jennings, Stephanie Liss (former CEI shark program intern and graduate student at University of Illinois) and Christopher Koch. Christopher, an experienced captain and diver, has supported the Shark Research and Conservation Program since his daughters, Hanna and Melanie, studied at The Island School in Fall 2006 and Fall 2008, and offered to return to Eleuthera once again to help on this exciting expedition. Just goes to show that IS alumni aren’t the only ones that can come back to The Island School and CEI–parents can, too!