Annabelle Brooks and Meagan Gary, researchers with the CEI Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Program, recently spent a day in Savannah Sound, Central Eleuthera, with Fishbone Tours (http://www.fishbonetours.com/). Established by Julius Rankine, resident of Savannah Sound, Fishbone Tours offers fishing trips and adventure tours that include a variety of activities including snorkeling on reefs and in mangroves, visiting a conch ranch, lunch on a secluded beach, and catching sea turtles. Not only a fun day out, Julius and his wife also take the opportunity to educate visitors about the various marine environments and species of the Bahamas.
CEI’s Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Program has teamed up with Fishbone tours, training them on measuring sea turtles that they catch and release, gathering valuable data about the sea turtles using the rich habitat of Savannah Sound. This collaboration will allow us to expand our existing data set from South Eleuthera. During their time in Savannah Sound, Meagan caught a juvenile green turtle and recorded carapace measurements, and the team explored the variety of different habitat types found throughout the sound. This was a great way to start collaborations on Eleuthera and start planning for future research in the rich ecosystem of Savannah Sound.
Here are brief bios from CEI’s three fall research assistants:
Ian Bouyoucos graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. This research assistant position is his third time at CEI, following an internship in the summer 2010 and spring 2013 semesters. Ian’s research background is focused on shark stress physiology, as well as sturgeon bycatch reduction. Specifically, he has conducted research concerned with the secondary stress response in the smooth dogfish, and the potential for electropositive metals to serve as a method of bycatch reduction for Atlantic sturgeon. In addition, he has assisted on projects dealing with nursery habitat use of juvenile lemon and blacktip sharks, and bycatch reduction in sandbar sharks. On top of the research he will be involved in with the shark research and conservation program, Ian will be conducting a project focused on the immunological response in yellow stingrays to a chronic stressor, which will serve as a model for sharks. Continue reading →
Students from the US and Puerto Rico came to the CEI campus for a week of working with researchers in the Shark, Flats, and Turtle Programs. Here is an update from each group.
Flats Team: Campers working the with flats team got a crash course in learning about flats ecology, mangrove ecosystems, and the economic and ecological importance of one target flats species, the bonefish. They gained experience seining, where they caught bonefish and lemon sharks and were able to practice tagging and releasing. Campers also got to try their hand at fly fishing on the flats, and each group caught a few bonefish. Continue reading →
This past Saturday, CEI and IS hosted their Spring 2013 Research Symposium. The event consisted of research presentations and poster sessions, where Island School students got the chance to present their semester’s worth of work to staff, community members, visiting scientists, and representatives from some Bahamian NGO’s, including Save our Bays. After giving brief presentations that discussed everything from the purpose of the research to data analysis and interpretation, IS students had the chance to attend their first poster session as
young scientists. After working on the posters all semester, students were proud to showcase their effort, and share what they learned with those that were interested. The Symposium culminated with keynote speakers Dr. John Tiedemann (Monmouth University) and Dr. Mark Hixon (University of Hawaii), addressing the students and motivating them to continue their critical thinking as they move on to college.
This past weekend, the CEI and Island School campus had many visitors eager to hear about CEI research- Island School parents! Parents attended presentations given by IS students on current research projects that the students have been working on since they arrived in March. Research presentations discussed during the event included:
The abundance and distribution of sea turtles in Half Sound
Effects of longline capture on shark physiology
Competitive interactions between lobsters and lionfish
Identifying ideal nursery habitat for juvenile queen conch
Effects of climate change on bonefish and other mangrove species
The relationship between herbivore abundance on patch reefs and proximity to mangroves
Assessing settlement of post-larval lionfish
Each presentation was followed by a question and answer session, where students demonstrated their extensive knowledge on the background and applications of their study. Parents also got the opportunity to learn about all of the research happening at CEI, and to meet with research advisors.
Attention! Deadline for registration for CEI’s Eleutheran Explorer’s Camp, Shark Week, Flats Week, and the new Turtle Week has been extended to JUNE 15. Please see the links below for informational flyers about the camps!
This past week, the SP13 Island School students presented Project Introduction presentations to their peers, staff, faculty, and the many visitors on campus. These presentations gave the students a chance to stand up in front of a crowd, and display their knowledge of the background, purpose, and methodology of their specific research projects.
Research projects this year include 1) lionfish and lobster competition, 2) shark physiology after longline capture, 3) effects of climate change on bonefish swimming capacity, 4) effects of decreasing pH on mangrove fish, 5) identifying juvenile queen conch nurseries, 6) green sea turtle habitat use, 7) the settlement of juvenile lionfish, and 8) coral vs. algae cover on patch reefs. These projects are led by CEI researchers, and the students have the chance to work closely with with researchers for the duration of their Island School research class. The class culminates with a Research Symposium, where the students present a scientific poster on the findings of their projects. Continue reading →
Recently, students from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM), hailing from Limestone, Maine, spent their 2 week J-Term learning about sea turtle research and conservation at CEI.While here they learned about how the Bahamas is a unique foraging ground for juvenile green sea turtles. The students traveled to Half Sound, located northwest of the Cape, on the Atlantic side of the island. This site provides a protected habitat with a small opening to the ocean, a seemingly ideal place for juvenile green sea turtles to forage.
For their research, MSSM students built on research conducted by Annabelle Brooks and The Island School Fall 2012 research group. During their field time they conducted habitat mapping and surveys of the sound- observing shoreline habitat, taking depth measurements, and noting bottom type. They also set up the first baited remote underwater video (BRUV) in the sound to capture footage of the possible predators in the sound. Boat surveys were conducted, where students did actual counts of sea turtles, and a seine net was set up in the mouth of the tidal creek, to capture and tag sea turtles. The tagging of sea turtles done at CEI is in partnership with the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida, which aims to form a global database of sea turtle tagging data.