Choosing a DR Project

19 Feb

Every SFS semester program culminates in a Directed Resource Project in a specific area mapped out by the staff members at each respective center, and today we were given introductions into all of the different options. Several of the projects cover the social aspects of South Caicos in regards to tourism and overfishing; others involve reef fish and the organisms that call the Turks and Caicos Islands home; and one project is concerned with the spread of the lionfish in recent years, an invasive species that is causing problems everywhere. While all of them are interesting in their own way, two in particular stuck out to me. We can, of course, only choose one topic on which to write a paper, and since there are a fixed number of slots for each project, we are encouraged to write “justifications” if we really want to be apart of one project in particular. Basically, plead your case well. I have outlined two of the projects I am considering below:

1) Assessing the distribution of Lionfish around South Caicos-I mentioned this project briefly above, and it is the project I am most excited for. Starting approximately 10 to 15 years ago, lionfish began appearing on the eastern coast of the United States and slowly worked their way down to the Caribbean, where they are now a major problem. They have no natural predators in this region, which has allowed them to spread rapidly. If accepted into this project, I’ll be driving around the coast of South Caicos locating and catching lionfish, marking down their location, size, gender, age, etc… The purpose is to build a better understanding of where these fish can be found, and possible solutions for dealing with them.

2) The second project involves monitoring the habitats of spiny lobsters on the reef, even building model shelters in advance to see how well they provide protection for the species. In recent years, the spiny lobster has been severely overfished, and some of the fishermen we’ve talked to down here have told us how depleted the reefs are now as opposed to 10 years ago. Some of the fishermen use bleach (illegally) to flush lobsters out of their hiding places, which may be highly effective but also severely damages the coral.

So those are the two options I am looking at for the DR project. Apologies if this post was a little dry, but I thought it would be important to include this in the blog, since the DR project is the culmination of the entire semester down here. If you were bored out of your mind, the next post I write will be on the local bars, so stay tuned for that!

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One Response to “Choosing a DR Project”

  1. Lightning McQueen February 19, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    The lionfish research sounds amazing! Definately sounds most intruiging. How many people are to each group? have fun and good luck getting the project you want!

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