Students from The Maine School of Science and Mathematics departed this morning, having completed two weeks of research and experiential learning here at The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute. During their time on Eleuthera, they worked closely with CEI researchers, while learning about the importance of conserving resources, exploring the surrounding tropical ecosystem, and discovering some of the many hidden treasures of the island. They reflect on their experiences:

“One of the main goals for coming here was to conduct research meaningful to the place in which we were living. We were divided into two groups for our program-long projects, one collecting data on the diet of invasive lionfish via dissection and analysis of stomach contents. This group dissected over 100 lionfish and went free diving among the coral reefs to see them alive and swimming. The other group worked diligently to find the maximum temperature at which certain species of fish can survive, while exploring the abundant flats ecosystems of Eleuthera. This included seine netting for Checkered Puffers, Yellow Finned Mojarra, and Schoolmaster Snappers, resulting in a single catch of 91 fish! We then measured the respiration patterns of the fish as the temperature of the water was increased. Yesterday we presented our findings to a large portion of the campus, which proved to be a great success.

Aside from our research projects, we have also learned an incredible amount about the importance of conservation and sustainable practices. On one of our first days here, we were able to tour the campus and see the many different ways that The Island School lives sustainably, including water cisterns, solar panels, the resource center, composting, aquaponics, and solving the problem of overfishing. More importantly, we have experienced this sustainable lifestyle firsthand by actively conserving water and composting—we all now know what a navy shower feels like!”

We send the students of MSSM off with the intention to do good work back home and in their school, and we hope to see them all again at some point in the future!