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Life Beneath The Sea—Coral Reef Research!

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A diverse group of young Bahamian researchers from the BEST Commission, independent consultants, Stuart’s Cove, The Nature Conservancy, the Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas Reef Environment, Educational Foundation (BREEF), and volunteers participated in the three-day AGRRA training led by Dr. Craig Dahlgren (photo 1).

Photo 1. Individuals who participated in the AGRRA Workshop at Stuart’s Cove. Photo courtesy of Stuart’s Cove, Nassau, The Bahamas.

What is AGRRA?

AGRRA is the only program that has developed an all-encompassing regional database on the diversity and conditions of Caribbean coral reefs as well as types of algae and fish present.

Training was facilitated Dr. Dahlgren, Krista Sherman from the Bahamas National Trust, and Vonetta Burrows from Atlantis Marine Aquarium Operations. The training focused on both classroom and field review of the various marine species, including coral, algae, and fish species (photos 1a and 1b). The group was eager to learn scientific approaches used to assess our marine life.  While diving, individuals observed species of grouper, stands of elkhorn coral, and, of course, the invasive lionfish!

Photo 2. Workshop participants learning about marine species as they conduct underwater field assessments. Photo courtesy of Stuart’s Cove, Nassau, The Bahamas.

The data collected during the training and in the future will be used to develop a Coral Reef Health Report Card for The Bahamas that demonstrates the health status of our reefs.

The new, vibrant team of researchers stands ready to do their part in monitoring impacts on corals and their productivity so that effective yet practical strategies can be identified to help preserve Bahamian coral reefs!

Stay tune for upcoming coral reef research—next stop, Andros Island!