In December 2013, the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) and Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) launched The Local Schools Program which has several education programs that reach young Bahamians. Our Local School Programs connect CEI and CSD to schools throughout Eleuthera and share information about current research projects. Through this program, young Bahamians get to understand principles of marine conservation and environmental stewardship participate in research themselves and get hands-on experience with topics covered in the national curriculum. Students gain a deeper appreciation for their natural resources and the need to protect them. Local School Programs support and supplement students’ experiences in school and engage a future generation of scientists, guides, and policy makers.
Principals from schools throughout Eleuthera and senior members of the District Education Office spent a day on campus to experience the program first-hand. The morning session was dedicated to understanding the program design and how the curriculum is built around the Bahamas National Science Curriculum which will be delivered to students as an experiential addition to lessons learned in the classroom. In the afternoon, Principals got down and dirty participating in research projects involving farming, aquaculture, aquaponics, conch and lionfish. A brief taste of some of the exciting projects researchers are involved in.
Courses are designed to reach students in Pre-K to Ph.D. and can be customized to various curricular objectives. Teachers and groups can learn more about these programs by contacting the Outreach or Educational Programs Department at CEI at 1-242-334-8552 (Danielle Gibson/Tiffany Gray/Karen Knight). Educational Programs are delivered year round on space available basis. In addition, see our website for information on Summer Camps, Summer Apprenticeships, and BESS Applications at www.ceibahamas.org
Last week the Bahamas National Trust hosted Kristal Ambrose, Aquaponics Technician at Cape Eleuthera Institute, as a public meeting guest speaker. The topic for the evening featured her internship to study plastics in the North Pacific Western Garbage Patch, an area highly concentrated with plastic debris and an environmental issue only just beginning to be studied by scientists. Kristal recounted her expedition, which sought to answer questions that explore what happens to plastics that enter the ocean, from ingestion by marine life, to absorption of harmful pollutants. The opportunity to share this experience with a Bahamian audience was especially important to Kristal, as her primary goal following this study is to find real solutions through education, research and outreach projects in her home country. After peaking the interest of one attendee at the BNT meeting, Kristal was approached to also share her experience with students at St. Andrews School where she spoke to two classes on Friday.
Kristal’s study was supported by the BNT, Bahamas Reef Environment Foundation (BREEF) and The Nature Conservancy, all of whom were represented at the meeting Continue reading →
Research classes kicked off this week for The Island School students. On Tuesday, students broke into their 8 different research groups and spent the afternoon getting to know their research advisors–members of the research team at the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI). They also learned about the study they would be working on for the next 3 months. Thursday afternoon was their first field block, where they got out on the water or into the lab for the first time! The 8 studies being conducted this semester focus on shark ecology & physiology, the impact of climate change on bonefish & mangrove flats species, lionfish & reef fish population ecology, and sea turtle & conch abundance & distribution around South Eleuthera. These studies are well-established areas of research at CEI and as a result, many visitors and collaborators will be visiting our campus over the next few weeks to share their knowledge and expertise with the students.
Research class is an exciting opportunity for students to gain new skills in the field – from fish identification and handling to public speaking and PowerPoint creation. Students learn about and contribute to global conservation issues, work in small groups, and ultimately, have the experience of a lifetime!
Dr. Mark Hixon plus four graduate students have been conducting lionfish research at CEI this summer. Dr. Hixon is the most cited coral reef biologist in the last decade and recently gave a TED talk about the lionfish invasion.
Mark and his team our the first long-term residents in Hallig House. He speaks about his experience at CEI in the video below. Mark will return later in August with Carl Safina and a film crew in tow. They will be shooting an episode for Saving the Ocean.
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!
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 →
This spring, two high school seniors, Louise Shiverick (F’10) and Sam Falkson, came down to Eleuthera to work at the Cape Eleuthera Institute for their senior project. Read about their time at CEI working with the lemon shark program.
My name is Louise Shiverick and I am lucky enough to be working at the Cape Eleuthera Institute with the Shark Research and Conservation Program for my Senior Project. At my school, Hathaway Brown (in Shaker Heights, Ohio), the last thing that the seniors do before graduating is a two week senior project. The point is to give us one last opportunity in high school to get involved with something that we find really interesting. People do a variety of things, from community service at soup kitchens to shadowing a doctor at one of the nearby hospitals. While most people stay at home, I decided to do something different and come to CEI.
I was an Island School student in Fall 2010 and was on the Lemon Shark research group Continue reading →
Last week, the nearby settlement of Deep Creek had their annual homecoming called Conch Fest. The Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) set up a booth amongst all of the conch fritter and local craft stalls at Conch Fest to give information and answer questions about CEI and Island School, as well as play a few games with the children who stopped by the booth. Here are a few pictures of the booth at Conch Fest.
Since its creation just over one year ago, the Lionfish Research and Education Program (LREP) at CEI has strived to become a hub for lionfish work in the Caribbean. Recently, LREP has taken some exciting steps toward reaching this status! Just last week, CEI hosted three producers and videographers from ZED (www.zed.fr), a major French documentary company that is working on gathering footage for an upcoming TV series featuring invasive lionfish. Specifically, the documentary team was interested in learning about Bahamian lionfish research and management initiatives. Luckily, visiting scientist, and partner of LREP, Nicola Smith was able to come over from Nassau to support the week’s activities and be featured in the film! Nicola is the lead coordinator for the Bahamian-wide lionfish research project that operates under the Bahamian Department of Marine Resources (DMR) and partners with CEI.
ZED producer, Jerome Segur, sound engineer, Olivier Pioda, and underwater videographer (and former member of Jacque Cousteau’s prestigious dive team!)Didier Noirot, joined Nicola and LREP researchers in the field to get a closer look at lionfish and to better understand the project’s research objectives. Continue reading →
The first week of research was a big week for the Lionfish research project. We oriented ourselves to our goals, methods, and systems. We discussed what an invasive species means, the invasion of lionfish, their life cycles, and their anatomy. On Thursday, we dissected lionfish in the lab. Our project began with learning external anatomy, including how to prevent lionfish stings. Next cut their bellies and look into the internal anatomy. We saw their key organs, and even their super stretch stomach that makes them such a successful predator. I found it especially interesting when we opened their stomach; we identified their stomach contents. This is especially significant because we identified their stomach contents to determine which species were suffering due to lionfish predation. I really enjoyed our dissection. The following week was our first field day. We went diving on a reef and practiced protocol for surveying a particular reef. The group was really excited to begin their work and get in the water. Stay tuned for new updates from the Lionfish research project!