I'm now a parent... to hundreds of little coral babies! The coastal resilience team has spent the last few days at Calabash Caye waiting for the Acropora to spawn. Wednesday night it finally happened, which means we were up all night mixing the gametes to make the egg and sperm packets burst and become fertilized, then filtering out the corals-to-be into tanks for further care. In 3 hours shifts staff, interns, volunteers and even our boat captain meticulously spray the tanks every 15 minutes to keep the babies from sticking to the sides, monitor water temperature and clean fatty metabolites from the surface. Once mature, the corals will be transplanted back to the reef. Who knew raising babies was such hard work!
Above: Preparing for our night dive and snorkel to catch the Acropora spawning
L: Nets used for capturing the gametes; R: Stirring the gamete packets so they burst and the eggs can be fertilized
Above: Monitoring fertilization and removing the excess sperm
L: Tanks for rearing the baby corals; M: Cleaning fatty metabolites from the surface of the tanks; R: Monitoring water temperature
I am currently looking for students that would like to do a Master of Philosophy with me at the University of Belize, starting in January 2020. The M.Phil. program is a new, research-based Master's at UB. Students will spend most of their time carrying out a research project, and the program only requires three seminar classes in the specialty field. Students will gain research and technical skills, and as a condition of completion will publish one peer-reviewed research paper by the end of their degree. For more information on the program, see https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/mphil-application/
The successful applicants will work with me and Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts at the Environmental Research Institute in Belmopan, Belize as part of a larger effort to understand reef resilience in Belize. Specifically, they will conduct research in historical ecology or paleoecology to help test hypotheses about patterns of reef diversity and growth on centennial and decadal timescales. For more information about projects or living in Belmopan, please contact Dr. Anna Weiss, aweiss [at] ub [dot] edu [dot] bz.
I had the opportunity to join Dr. Arlenie Rogers and Giselle Borden from UB ERI on a field trip exploring development and sustainability in Belize. We got to visit beautiful Harvest Caye in Placencia and The Reserve in Stann Creek to learn how they are incorporating sustainability into their business models. It was inspiring to see businesses that aim to be responsible community members and citizens (amid beautiful scenery!). Below are photos from that trip.
Top 2 Rows: Harvest Caye; Bottom Row: The Reserve
An article about my recent paper on coral extinction during the PETM has been published in Natural History Magazine's April issue, here