Category Archives: SCUBA

SFU sends two scientists to study lionfish in the food web

Here are two short bios from two visiting scientists from Simon Fraser University:

PhD Student from SFU Luis ready to dive for lionfish.
PhD student from SFU Luis ready to dive for lionfish.

Luis- I am a marine ecologist with background in oceanography and fisheries ecology; my
research interests are the study of food web interactions and energy transfer in the marine ecosystem. For my PhD at The Marine Ecology Lab in Simon Fraser University, I will focus on evaluating how food webs are affected under different stressors, one very important one being the lionfish invasion on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. During the following three months I will be collecting samples of different fish species using non-invasive techniques to study the structure of food webs in reefs off Eleuthera. This is an existing project and having the opportunity of doing it with the help and support of the CEI and Island School staff makes it even better!



SFU Student Sev checking a trap.
SFU Student Sev checking a trap.

Severin- I am a third year biology student from Simon Fraser University. For my cooperative education placement and NSERC – Undergratuate Student Research Award, I have the good fortune of assisting Luis Malpica with his food-web research in the field (under the supervision of Dr. Côté) as well as conducting my own studies on site fidelity and habitat use of yellow stingrays (Urobatis jamaicensis). Although I’ve been diving for several years, my interest for marine ecology was ignited after participating in Dr. Côté’s graduate level, underwater research methods course at SFU.



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April patch reef surveys completed by Lionfish Research team

Last week, the lionfish team here at CEI got out of the office and spent their working hours underwater- about 14 hours to be exact! They conducted a round of patch reef surveys in Rock Sound, counting numerous fish species and looking for and removing lionfish from the reefs. The study is aimed at better understanding the impacts lionfish have in the area. On the 16 patch reefs they surveyed, 56 lionfish were seen and sized. On the 8 patches that were designated as “removal patches,” 19 out of 24 lionfish were removed.

Lionfish team
Members of Lionfish Research Team (L to R): Liz Underwood (intern), Jocelyn Curtis-Quick (Manager), and visiting scientists Luis and Sev.

Several exciting encounters with other marine life happened as well, including getting up close and personal with a nurse shark and spotting a unicorn filefish! Seven different people were involved in data collection, including PhD student, Luis, from Simon Frasier University. Luis is back at CEI for 3 months collecting data for his project and helping out the lionfish program any way he can! Continue reading

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Oregon State University Lionfish Lab hits the reefs of South Eleuthera

For the past two weeks, Mark Hixon’s graduate students from Oregon State University (Alex Davis, Tye Kindinger, and Lillian Tuttle) have been busy SCUBA diving on their experimental reefs where they are observing the ecological effects of invasive lionfish on native communities.  Alex has been filming lionfish behavior at dusk, when lionfish are often actively hunting on the reefs.  Tye is monitoring two species of native basslets (one of which is a popular aquarium fish) that could be threatened by lionfish predation.   Lillian has been measuring densities of cleaner fishes, potential lionfish prey, which pick parasites off of other larger fishes, and are thus an important part of maintaining a healthy reef-fish community.  Continue reading

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Another visiting program experiences Eleuthera!

This eyewitness account was written by a student in the University School-Hathaway Brown Program:

Before getting started, allow me to explain one reason why the Island School was such an eye-opening, incredible experience for my group and me. We are from Cleveland. Between the incessant snow and cloudy days, it seems that conservation is the last thing on our minds. So when our science research-based school club (the Anderson Scholars) of five boys, in addition to five girls (also interested in science research) from our all-girls sister school Hathaway Brown, received the notice that we would be spending a week in the beautiful, sunny Bahamas, we didn’t know what to expect.


The Island School is its own microcosm of shape shifting individuals. From the engaging curriculum, an individual becomes a motivated student. From the hands-on outdoor activities, one becomes a teammate. From the encouragement of others, one transforms into a leader. While most schools are trying to discover a way to make their curriculum applicable to the outside world, the Island School has already developed several tried and true methods to make it a precedent for said schools. The school is a place where the words “when will I ever use this outside of class?” will never be uttered from a student’s lips. The students are warm, outgoing, and most importantly, passionate; they are passionate about school, conservation, and lifting each other up. The science researchers are driven, and extremely helpful. Continue reading

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Interested in a CEI summer or fall internship?

Call for marine ecology, sustainable food production, and renewable energy-related intern applicants!

Interested in gaining experience in the marine sciences?  Perhaps sustainable living and food production?  Please note the approaching application deadlines:

Summer 2013 intern application deadline: April 1, 2013
Fall 2013 intern application deadline: May 1, 2013

The Cape Eleuthera Institute, The Bahamas, is accepting intern applications for the following research programs:

Flats Ecology and Conservation Program
Queen Conch Ecology and Conservation Program
Shark Research and Conservation Program
Open Ocean Aquaculture
Aquaponics and Permaculture
Lionfish Research and Educational Outreach Program
Engineering and Sustainable Systems
Biodigestion and Sustainable Development

Visit for internship descriptions and instructions for applying.

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Vermont Commons visits CEI and has a blast under the sea!

A group of 12 students, 8th – 12th grade, from Vermont Commons School in South Burlington, Vermont, is off after a week of SCUBA diving and research. This was their first time visiting CEI and they say it exceeded their expectations! They especially enjoyed night wading for octopus with Brendan Talwar, lionfish dissections with Elizabeth Underwood and Jocelyn Curtis-Quick, learning reef fish ID with Kristal Ambrose, ultimate frisbee with Jason Kincaid, and volunteering with SEEP (South Eleuthera Emergency Partners)! Each and every one of them loved our local lettuce and all the food provided by our kitchen staff. We couldn’t have done it without this amazing community!

Check out the link to their blog for a step by step log of their trip down to Cape Eleuthera Institute!

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