Science Without Borders ® is a critical component of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition. The founder, His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Sultan of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was inspired by the well-known organization, Doctors Without Borders, to develop an initiative that could provide support for international marine conservation, public outreach and scientific research programs. By complementing the objectives of our Global Reef Expedition, Science Without Borders® increases the potential to advance ocean preservation, protection and restoration around the globe.
This year, three missions of the Global Reef Expedition are being carried out in the Bahamas. The locations of these coral reef research projects include the Cay Sal Bank (held 26 April to 18 May, 2011), Great Inagua, Little Inagua and Hogsty Reef (in progress from 1 August to 24 August, 2011) and Abaco and Andros Islands (to be held in late September through mid-October, 2011). The Science Without Borders® initiative is achieved for the Bahamas missions by means of collaboration with several Bahamian marine conservation organizations. On the ship presently are four Bahamian scientific research divers, with two more joining the ship on the second half of the expedition. These scientists represent various local organizations interested in contributing to the goals of the Global Reef Expedition while simultaneously achieving their own organization’s objectives.
Indira Brown is onboard to contribute her fish identification skills to the REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) fish surveys that will be used on this expedition to assess fish diversity and abundance. Indira comes to the expedition from the Bahamas Department of Marine Resources. She will perform roving dive surveys to gain a comprehensive assessment of fish biodiversity around the Inaguas and Hogsty Reef.
Lindy Knowles will also be surveying fish at our study sites to contribute to the expedition’s evaluation of reef fish populations. Lindy is an Assistant Parks Planner with the Bahamas National Trust in the Parks & Science Division.
On the team to contribute to the benthic (sea floor) and coral coverage studies is Agnessa Lundy, a scientific diver from The Nature Conservancy’s Bahamas Office. Agnessa will help to identify and record the different species of algae, coral and other marine invertebrates we encounter.
Rounding out the Bahamian team on the present Global Reef Expedition is Krista Sherman. Krista has a master’s degree in Marine Science and currently works for the Bahamas National Trust. Krista’s marine invertebrate identification skills will be utilized in the expedition’s benthic and coral coverage research.
Tavares Thompson (a park warden on Andros Island for the Bahamas National Trust) and Alannah Vellacott (a biology major at the College of Bahamas) will join the second half of the expedition to conduct REEF and AGRRA fish surveys.
Thanks to Science Without Borders ®, the research conducted in the Bahamas during the Global Reef Expedition will assist and support the Bahamian government’s decision-making process in determining the best courses of action to sustainably manage their valuable coral reef resources.
Written by Kit van Wagner
(Photo and Map by: Amanda Williams)
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