Photo above: Marine Conservation and Policy Students at Cape Eleuthera Institute during a two-week field research class in Eleuthera

Over Winter Break, Marine Conservation and Policy students participated in a field course held in collaboration with The Cape Eleuthera Institute, a remote research station situated on Eleuthera, The Bahamas.  The educational focus of MAR 532 was to examine the foraging dynamics of Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) through stable isotope analysis. This is an ongoing collaborative project between SoMAS Ph.D. student Oliver Shipley, professor Michael Frisk, and Dr. Gregory Henkes from the School of Earth and Space Sciences.

More generally,  MAR 532 offered students an immersive experience in the tropical marine environment where they were able to sample a broad range of predators from habitats spanning mangroves, oolitic banks, coral reefs, and open-ocean/deep-water. The course was comprised of a field visit to Eleuthera to collect biological samples and conduct analytical and statistical analyses. Following the field component, students will participate in the analyses and writing of a publication-quality scientific paper.

Students in the class used scientific longlines to capture and obtain muscle, fin, teeth, and blood samples from 17 sharks. Using this information, researchers will have a better understanding of their ecological role and the key habitats supporting their biomass, which will benefit conservation efforts in the future.

 

Content provided by Erika Lanfranchi and Oliver Shipley.

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