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Assessing the Health of Eleuthera’s Reefs

With funding from the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, The Perry Institute for Marine Science partnered with the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) and Bahamas National Trust (BNT) to lead an assessment of the reefs around The Island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. In August 2016 and again in February 2016, expeditions were made to survey the health of reefs around south Eleuthera.  Survey participants included representatives from Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, BREEF and The Nature Conservancy in addition to CEI and BNT.

Our Results

To date the health of fish populations, benthic habitats, and corals have been assessed for 17 reefs stretching from the Schooner Cays to Lighthouse Point on the Exuma Sound side of the island and then back up to Half Sound on the Atlantic side.  Preliminary results indicate that the condition of reefs can vary considerably based on local conditions with some sites having some of the most diverse and healthy coral populations in The Bahamas, but other sites being dominated by seaweed.  Data from these assessments will help to provide scientific guidance for the selection of sites for parks and protected areas, as well as the selection of candidate sites for restoration.  Additional reef surveys for North and Central Eleuthera are planned for the spring/summer or 2017.

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Meet Our Blogger - Vanessa Haley-Benjamin

Perry Institute for Marine Science

Vanessa Haley-Benjamin is a marine biologist whose professional career is focused on protecting the Bahamian environment through cutting edge research, natural resource management and more recently environmental policy and advocacy. Mrs. Haley-Benjamin received her Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Biology from The College of Charleston and her Masters of Science in Biological Sciences from Florida International University. She is a lecturer at the University of The Bahamas and currently a PhD candidate with research interest in developing effective climate change adaptation strategies for small island nations.