Marine Invertebrates in the Bahamas

Latest update March 21, 2019 Started on February 20, 2019
sea

Follow along as we explore and observe marine invertebrate diversity around San Salvador in the Bahamas. This year we will start a photo/video record of specific locations to observe annual changes in growth and diversity.

February 20, 2019
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Preparation

We just received news that we will be receiving a drone soon. So exciting. We are making planes to try it out at the university pool.

From Erica Lathers: To prepare for the trip to the Bahamas, I am studying the many different types of sponges, cnidarians, annelids, mollusks, arthropods and echinoderms that we will see will snorkeling at the research station. I am focusing on identifying the different types of corals especially, knowing different species. I am also reviewing different types of sea turtles and aquatic fish that we may see during our time in the water. I have also been reviewing the many species of chlorophytes. My goal is to be able to identify species quickly in the water. I am also getting ready by making sure I have all of the supplies that I will need for the trip. The trip is getting close and I am getting so excited!

From Kelsey Mitchell: In order to prepare for the upcoming San Salvador, Bahamas excursion, I have brought out identification notes from a previous marine biology class taught by the excursion leader, Dr. Cara Shillington. These notes, as well as my ID books, should help me better identify and understand taxa found throughout this tropical region. I have also brought out my snorkel, mask, and fins; needless to say I am getting ready a little early, but this is due to sheer excitement for this excursion!

Expedition Background

Eastern Michigan University takes biology students to San Salvador Island in the Bahamas after a semester long course studying invertebrates and marine ecology. Students have the opportunity to see close-up many of the organisms that they have been studying - seeing them in their natural habitat and observing their behavior. While this is a regular trip and we have lots of photos from previous trips, this year we will be starting a photo and video record of specific locations that we will revisit each time to track long-term changes in diversity and overall growth of organisms. Marine environments face multiple challenges associated with human activity and global warming, but sometimes changes over longer timescales are difficult to envision. When students are able to visit the same locations from year to year and visually document changes, this can become more meaningful and understandable. Our students are our ambassadors for the future welfare of our marine environments.

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Great idea with the long term photography! Will that be using ‘fixed-point’ techniques? We’ve done similar things over a season on our fish nesting site and it shows habitat changes really well when you might not otherwise notice it. Looking forward to seeing you results!
We are planning to use the "fixed point" technique. Do you have photos posted of your fish sites? How long was the season?
Many fond memories of doing research in this place. The marine life is amazing. Also the first place I saw the horrific amount of plastic and other garbage that is so prevalent in our oceans. I hope you will send photos of this as well should you find the eastern beaches to be as polluted as I saw them in the late ‘90s

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