By Giselle Dean, The Bahamas National Trust
The third Bahamas Natural History Conference (BNHC) took place from March 14th-17th 2016. The opening ceremony took place on March 14th at Atlantis and presentations took place from the 15th-17th at the College of The Bahamas. The theme of this year’s conference was “Reversing the Decline” and sought to explore the history, current status, and future plans of many resources found here in The Bahamas, including forests, important seafoods, and the effects of global warming and ocean acidification. During the week, 67 individuals presented their research and projects taking place in The Bahamas. Topics ranged from studies on coral reefs in The Bahamas, a study on the Bahama Swallow, to the economic importance of shark tourism, to plans for the future of conservation and sustainable practices in The Bahamas. There were also 10 poster presentations that ranged in topics from lobster sustainability efforts to water quality analysis of ground water around the New Providence landfill, to the importance fuzzy chitons in coastal zones. Finally, seven students competed in the Gerace Student Series, which allowed college students to present their research projects to peers and scientists alike. The top three presenters were awarded trophies. In total, about 500 individuals attended the conference over the three days.
There was also special key note speaker – Dr. Carleton Ray on the evening of March 16th who is the last remaining founder of The Bahamas National Trust. Other special guests included world renowned nature photographer Melissa Groo, and Head of the Smithsonian Institute’s Migratory Bird Centre, Peter Marra. The conference was regarded as a success by all who attended, and look forward to the next BNHC conference in 2018.