CEI just completed the second Eleuthera Explorer’s Camp this summer! Camp culminated with presentations for parents at Island School. This gave campers a chance to share what experiences got them most excited throughout the week and to show their parents a tidbit of what they have learned.
The first day started out with a snorkel and sustainable systems scavenger hunt to get everyone acquainted to campus and life at The Island School. Later, they got to do some kayaking, Bahamian dance, and attend a presentation from our plastics research enthusiast, Miss Kristal Ambrose.
On their second day, they had a chance to go on a discover scuba dive! This is for youngsters who are not certified yet but still want to try their hand at breathing underwater. Even Gwyndolyn Domino, who is already open water certified, got a chance to get another full dive under her belt. The day continued with a reef snorkel and presentation on shark ecology.
The 2013 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists was held July 10 -15 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The American Elasmobranch Society participated by hosting 5 days of shark and ray research presentations, and was attended by CEI Research Manager Annabelle Brooks. Topics covered the latest research on the movements, biology, physiology, reproduction and ecology of a variety of species, in the deep sea to shallow coastal habitats. The impressive list of presenters came from all over the United States and Europe, including many graduate students.
Three presentations focused on studies conducted at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Dr. Jeff Stein, University of Illinois, presented the results of the shark population surveys conducted at ‘the bridge’ over the last 2 years, which show an increase in the abundance of Caribbean reef sharks in the area over the last 30 years. Dr. John Mandelman, New England Aquarium, presented the ongoing study investigating the impact of longline capture on the physiology of sharks, and Ian Hamilton, Memorial University, presented the data he collected during his Masters project conducted last year at CEI. Finally, two past Shark Research and Conservation Program interns attended to present their Masters research projects – congratulations Alexandra Pickard and Jimmy Kilfoil.
This week we said ‘bon voyage’ to an amazing group of students, staff and crew from Seatrek Fathoms. They graced us with their presence for 10 days of science, fun, research, snorkeling, and much much more.
A new experience for the education team with the group staying aboard their 65ft sailing schooner named the Avalon. Each day the group made it to land and delved into our program. The focus of this trip was for the students to really get an idea of how a remote field station functions, all the differing aspects of research at CEI and the reality of setting reachable research goals.
We began our trip with a day sharking out with Owen and his team. It was quite the day long-lining with both the Dave & Di and the Avalon, giving all the students an opportunity to be first hand part on the long-lining crew, switching out with the observers stationed on the Avalon. The day was successful, hooking one Reef Shark, all the students were able to see how shark research works out in the field, and it was a great day had by all. Continue reading →
Seven undergraduate students from Newcastle University have been on campus since July 1, assimilating with various research groups at CEI. Each student is working on an individual project for their undergraduate thesis. Click below for a summary of the projects:
Here is a brief background on our new Shark Research Associate, Dr. Owen R. O’Shea:
I am a marine ecologist with a background in coral reef ecology and elasmobranch biology. I completed my PhD with Murdoch University and The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in 2012 where I worked on tropical dasyatids from Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. My research so far has highlighted critical ecological functions of sharks and rays within tropical marine ecosystems, including tidal periodicity of manta rays and sharks to oceanic cleaning stations, biophysical processes at inshore reefs by stingrays as well as assessing the spatial ecology of coral reef associated elasmobranch species. My research ambitions align well with the Shark Research and Conservation Program at CEI and I am looking forward to helping out with existing projects as well as developing further research programs, relevant for elasmobranchs in this region.
We spent Monday out on the boat searching for reef sharks with our physiology project and had some luck! We hooked a Caribbean reef shark quite early and had the chance to get some great photos underwater before bringing the small male to the boat and doing a complete workup. Gishani got some wonderful photos from the boat while Dr. Scholl and Jason were in the water taking video and snapping some photos as well. It was a very successful day and everyone was excited to be a part of such an exciting project. More than anything, we were happy to see the shark swim off unharmed and have a complete data set.
Tuesday was full of more shark sets and diving opportunities for Jason and Gishani. We had no luck on the lines, but did have the chance to see a free swimming Caribbean reef shark at the offshore aquaculture cage. Continue reading →
Morgan’s Bluff: The expedition continued in Morgan’s Bluff on the north side of Andros from May 30th through June 2nd. While sawfish weren’t found in this area, seven more lemon sharks were sampled, bringing the total to 26 genetic samples. NOAA scientist Dr. John Carlson fitted a subadult female lemon shark with a satellite archival tag, which will yield information on movement of this demographic as well as the efficacy of the tag in shallow water.
Fresh Creek: The team returned to Nassau before heading back out to Fresh Creek on Andros’ east side. Fresh Creek lived up to its name’s reputation by being quite fresh, and at a glance, devoid of lemon or nurse sharks. Lemon sharks were spotted outside the mouth of the creek on flats south of the AUTEC U.S. Navy base. Fishing for lemons turned out to be a fruitless effort, so the team headed out to deeper water to try and tackle another project goal: satellite tagging great hammerheads. In deeper waters the team caught several Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks, but no hammerheads yet.
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.
Last week, our second CEI Symposium kicked off with the first night of presentations by Liz Underwood on lionfish reproduction sites, Skylar Miller discussing larval lionfish recruitment, Maddy Young on flats ecology, and Melissa Dick on mangrove cultivator pots. The second night yielded interesting presentations by Peter Wilson on the oceanic whitetip shark expedition, Lauren Horton on stingray physiology, Will Urmston presenting on the best medium to plant microgreens in, and Kristal Ambrose presenting on her beach plastic research.
CEI hosts a large variety of research projects and this symposium is a great way to showcase the hard work done by the interns for the past five months. Nice job everyone!