Name: Dr. Alex Tewfik
Position: Lecturer in Tropical Marine Ecology
Program: Marine Resource Management Studies, Turks & Caicos

After just three weeks, our Spring 2012 class has fully embraced the opportunities of exploring the watery world around South Caicos. This has included a number of organism identification trips to shallow water seagrass and mangrove communities, as well as excursions to the deeper, soft coral environments of shark alley.

The in-water identification trips, prefaced by evening slide shows and culminating in snorkeling ID quizzes, are a great way for students to quickly familiarize themselves with many of the most commonly encountered marine organisms in our front yard. These include the all-important resources of queen conch (Strombus gigas) and spiny lobster, as well as other colorful invertebrates and fish.

Waterfront activities also include SCUBA diving trips to hard coral reefs near the wall just minutes from our dock. Students have already encountered sea turtles, reef sharks, octopus and eagle rays during such trips with one lucky group having a spectacular dive with two of the humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that cruise through the Turks Island passage between January and March.

You never know what may happen around the crystal clear waters of the “Big South”!