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North Eleuthera Coral Reef Assessments

In May, The Perry Institute partnered with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) and Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas to conduct Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) surveys on the coral reefs of North Eleuthera.

The AGRRA method of assessment is essentially taking a rapid inventory of the fish, coral and benthic species (plants and animals on the sea floor) that are on coral reefs and helps us to understand its overall health. Coral reef health depends on complex relationships among the benthic, coral and fish communities. When changes occur in the dynamics of one of these components, the other components are affected and the whole relationship can be disrupted. To understand reef condition, AGRRA examines multiple indicators of the benthic-coral-fish relationships. With each diver trained to assess a specific component, the data collected will provide valuable baseline information for managers and government officials responsible for protecting coral reefs.

Though Bahamian coral reefs are feeling the pressure of various human impacts and global changes in the environment, we must continue our efforts in research, policy change, and community outreach to gradually reverse the decline of our coral reef biodiversity and our precious natural resources.

This project was funded by The Atlantis Blue Water Project and Disney Conservation Fund and supported by Valentine’s Dive Center in Harbour Island.

Meet Our Blogger - Alannah Vellacott

Alannah Vellacott is a Bahamian marine ecologist and has recently received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology at South Dakota State University. Alannah was a former Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar (BES Scholar) through Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF). This awarded her a full scholarship to attend the Island School in Eleuthera and participate in a paid 6month internship at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Since that amazing experience, Alannah has made the rounds working and volunteering for non-profit environmental conservation organizations including the Cape Eleuthera Institute, BREEF, the Bahamas National Trust, Community Conch and The Nature Conservancy. A scuba diver with 14 years of experience, Alannah has participated in shark and reef health research and has also been a part of coral and conch research here in The Bahamas. In the summer of 2017 Alannah was the Summer Intern for the Perry Institute. Alannah is currently the Research Assistant for Perry Institute under the Reef Rescue Network. She will travel throughout the Bahamas conducting AGRRA coral reef surveys as well as establishing coral nurseries and outplanting corals grown in already established nurseries back onto the reef for the Reverse The Decline Project.