ARMADA logo ARMADA Project -- Research and Mentoring Experiences for Teachers National Science Foundation logo


Journals 2005/2006

Greer Harvell
Meigs Middle School, Shalimar, Florida

"Earthwatch: Coastal Ecology of the Bahamas"
July 5-15, 2005
Journal Index:
July 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13
       14 - 15

Additional Resources

July 5, 2005
Upon Arrival

I arrived in Guana Cay today by boat, along with 21 others, both project staff and volunteers, at 4:00 pm. The volunteers are rather a mixed bag of individuals. The majority of us are educators from a variety of disciplines; a high school counselor, two fourth grade teachers (three actually if you count me) high school geography teachers, math teachers, and science teachers. An equal number of the team are high school and college age students. Two of the students are from islands in the Caribbean, two from England, and the rest from all over the U.S. We are joined by an interesting young woman from Scotland who is a health, safety and environmental specialist in Aberdeen. All of us will be working under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Sealy, our PI (principle investigator).

The research project has four main objectives. These are:

  1. To develop a model that can predict the biological diversity and fisheries production potential of coastal marine communities by mapping the existing coastal vegetation zones and coastal wetlands of tropical island systems.
  2. To collect the empirical information on water quality and marine plants needed to test the pollution and nutrient flux models.
  3. To evaluate the ecological impacts of chronic and acute changes in water quality and marine plant communities.
  4. To test hypotheses in remediation with coastal restoration projects.

The reason this location was selected for this particular project has to do with the development of the north end of Guana Cay. The developers have acquired a very large portion of the island and are building a very up scale resort community. In the short time I have been in the Bahamas I have heard from people who support this development as well as from a "militant opposition force" that are campaigning to stop it. The developers have responded to the opposition by asking Earthwatch to perform this research so that they can monitor the affects the construction will have on the environment.

Much of the evening was spent distributing food stuffs, making housing arrangements, and meeting the rest of the team. We ended, as we will each night, with a briefing outlining the responsibilities of each team for the next day. Tomorrow will be mainly an orientation to the island, its marine and plant life.