We’ve had a busy few weeks since the mid-semester break, with the students starting their Case Study II (CSII) lectures, as well as getting their Directed Research up and running. As usual, CSII at the Center for Marine Resource Studies focuses on a holistic approach to the management and conservation of marine species and ecosystems, primarily through the use of Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Although the concept of an MPA is quite straight forward, their design, implementation, and assessment are far from simple, and our lectures have covered a wide variety of relevant topics such as the expected/actual ecological impacts of MPAs, assessing biodiversity within MPAs, and the importance of getting local communities involved in MPA management.
Life has been busy out on/in the water too, with students, faculty, and waterfront staff participating in a number of research projects, ranging from gauging local attitudes to fisheries management, to assessing local fisheries, to investigating the dynamics of eagle ray and shark populations on the Caicos Bank. Although field research can be physically and mentally demanding, we all find our interactions with the local community and marine life to be highly rewarding. In a few short weeks, the students will complete the analysis of their data and present their findings to their peers and to the local community; it’s hard to believe that the semester has gone by so quickly!