Category Archives: Research Programs

Spotlight on Master’s student at CEI: Liane Nowell, Carleton University

I started my master’s at CEI in association with Carleton University in May 2012. I will be studying the thermal biology and spatial ecology of bonefish (for global warming implications) as a grad student in the Dr. Steve Cooke and Dr. Cory Suski labs of Carleton University and the University of Illinois, respectively.

Master's student Liane Nowell

The staff and faculty at CEI are a wonderful bunch of people. They are encouraging and eager to help me develop professionally and as a person. I really enjoy and appreciate CEI’s unique ability to engage in outdoor, experiential classrooms near Exuma sound. It’s nice to be a short boat ride away from the mangrove creeks that act as my study site. To date, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary network of professionals including meeting and working alongside visiting world-class scientists, collaborating with other master’s students, both here and abroad, and working closely with a host of Ph.D. students at the institute. Continue reading

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Bonefish tagging trip in Abaco update #1

In October, CEI researchers Aaron Shultz and Zach Zuckerman, along with Illinois Natural History Survey scientist and chair of the Fisheries Conservation Foundation Dave Philipp, took a trip to the neighboring island of Abaco to tag bonefish, as part of a Caribbean-wide effort to gain knowledge on the population dynamics and movements of these economically important gamefish.
Tagging efforts on Abaco were a huge success, despite having to deal with Hurricane Sandy.  Early on in the trip, the team headed out to the Southern End of the Marls and captured several schools of bonefish that came in waves of 50-150 fish.  Buddy Pinder, bonefish guide and member of the Abaco Flyfishing Guides Association helped them tag 162 fish on the first day of seining.  The next day they saw piles of fish moving along the same shoreline and tagged an additional 496 bonefish! One of the fish had been tagged by Aaron two years earlier in Cross Harbour.  The team suspects these fish are using this stretch of shoreline as a corridor to the southern end of the island, where fish aggregate prior to spawning.

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New blog for the Cape Eleuthera Institute

Hi all and welcome to the new Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) blog! We are excited to have a new space to highlight the innovative and exciting research being done at CEI. There will also be information on sustainable systems projects on campus, and updates on the many different educational programs that utilize CEI researchers to provide a science-based curriculum.

Check back weekly for new posts on the current happenings at CEI. Past blog posts involving CEI research can be found at


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Culturing Penshells at the Cape Eleuthera Institute

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

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Thousands of Tilapia for Aquaponics Team

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!


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On Plastic Research Expedition with Kristal Ambrose

Cape Eleuthera Institute’s Kristal Ambrose embarked on her epic journey to of plastic research, leaving on April 24th.. From Nassau, Bahamas to Texas, USA; from Tokyo, Japan to Guam; and finally, on to Majuro, Marshall Islands, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of exploration, opportunity, and learning for Ambrose, CEI’s Aquaponics Intern and researcher dedicated to finding solutions to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

“Most of what we eat, drink or use in any way comes packaged in petroleum plastic—a material designed to last forever yet used for products that we use for as little as thirty seconds then throw away,” describes Ambrose on her blog. “Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. This is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter. In the environment, plastic breaks down into small particles that release toxic chemicals into the environment. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, contaminating the food chain from the smallest plankton to the largest whale…This trip will serve as my formal training experience to tackle the plastic pollution and marine debris issue within my country.”

In Nassau during the days before departure, Ambrose was invited to tea at the home of His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor General of The Bahamas. Continue reading

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New Shark Resistant Netting on CEI’s Aquaculture Cage

This fall the Cape Eleuthera Institute installed a new shark-resistant netting called PREDATOR-X on CEI’s off-shore aquaculture cage. The netting was developed in partnership with NET Systems, Inc., and DSM Dyneema. This video provides an inside look at the research and development process, as well as the installation.


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More Baby Fish Have Arrived!

On Friday, January 27th half a million eggs arrived from Miami, Florida! They were placed in an incubation tank, where they hatched early Saturday morning. To the naked eye they looked like pieces of rosemary floating in the water. But under the microscope you could see the egg sack that was encased around the head and the tail was sticking out. The bottom of the tank was siphoned in order to get rid of the unhatched eggs and dead larvae. This is very important because if they were left in the tank bacteria can grow, which can kill the larvae. After determining how many larvae were alive, they were then transferred into six larval rearing tanks. They will obtain their food from their egg sack for three days. Cobia develop after they hatch, which means their mouths are very small and in turn can only eat rotifers for the first couple of weeks. They will eat enriched rotifers for about three weeks and then move onto eating artemia for another 45 days. Once they start growing more we will be able to wean them onto dry food and then eventually bring them out to the offshore cage that is fitted with shark resistant netting that was donated by DSM Dyneema!


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