Island Biology: Research


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Since 1996, we have explored a remarkable series of inland marine ponds on the Bahamian island of San Salvador in the Caribbean. These anchialine habitats range from fully marine to hypersaline in the extreme. Evidence suggests that many of these ponds are in the process of change, becoming progressively more hypersaline. Historically this is likely the result of a combination of anthropogenic activities leading to deforestation, rising sea levels and climate change. The ecological trajectory of these habitats is made even more interesting by a history of hurricane impact. Over the course of our studies, two hurricanes have hit the island, and we have been able to assess the impact on marine invertebrates within these ponds, especially the Atlantic Pearl Oyster, Pinctada imbricata. These ponds represent an extraordinary opportunity to witness the ecological trajectory of whole biotic communities as they respond to both progressive and periodic changes in their environment. This study creates a multi-disciplinary collaboration and a wealth of undergraduate research experiences.

Projects:


Nutrient cycling
Molluscan diversity as a salinity indicator  
Three Roses Cavern
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