Saturday, January 23, 2010

BBFS Project Talk

BBFS' Prinipal Investigator and doctoral student Kristine Stump is examining the effects of nursery habitat loss on juvenile lemon sharks around North and South Bimini Islands in the Bahamas.

Officially in a Marine Protected Area since 1999, this protection lacks clout. The boundaries have yet to be established and defined never mind enforced by a

Without question, a fine location, but Stump's research is heavily tied to a foreign invader on North Bimini, Bimini Bay Resort. Scaled back since its inception, great tracts of mangrove-fringed habitat for the juvenile lemon sharks has still been bulldozed to make way for the resort's condos and estate homes. All of Stump's research questions focus on changes the resort may have induced in areas such as abundance, first year mortality, prey assemblages, yearly growth, multi-year survivalship, habitat use and home range.

Stump is attempting to quantify these changes through PIT tags and telemetry. She is also using agent based modeling as a projection tool for shark survival.

Her work on nurseries is important because she has a unique opportunity for before and after comparisons from the impact of the resort. Her findings could also serve for the basis of protecting other threatened nursery areas both in Bimini and further afield. Concurrent research is also being conducted on comparative DNA analysis.

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