A core part of the Island School curriculum is research class, which is taught by CEI (Cape Eleuthera Institute) researchers.

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Research class is a crucial part of the semester because of how much responsibility is left to the students throughout the class/study. In research class, our teachers let students own their project, which allows for the students to truly understand and learn everything about their study. Students do everything from write research papers, to give presentations, to collect and analyze data all the data collected throughout our fieldwork. Research has been my favorite part of the semester and I cannot wait to give our presentation to researchers and government officials next week.

This semester, the research classes offered were Stingrays, Turtles, Flats, Conch, Sustainable fisheries, Lemon Sharks, Lionfish, and Deepwater.

Stingrays research is studying the dietary habits of Yellow Stingrays in correlation to electro-sensory detection [a sense used by stingrays to detect the electric field produced by every organism].

Performing gastric lavage to collect stomach contents

Gathering stomach contents to bring back to the lab for analysis

In Turtles research, they are studying how predators and vegetation influence the abundance and distribution of Green Turtles.

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In Flats research, they are assessing anthropogenic impacts on tidal creek systems.

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In Conch research, they are studying the population density of Queen Conch in Cape Eleuthera.

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Sustainable Fisheries is studying the local opinions of fishermen surrounding marine conservation efforts.

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Lemon Shark research is studying how much energy a shark expends when being captured and handled, specifically when caught on a long line.

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In Lionfish, they are determining the prey preference of lionfish, as it is an invasive species in the Bahamas (and everywhere outside of the Indo-Pacific).

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And finally in Deepwater research, we are studying to find baseline data of deepwater species in depths of 500-1200meters within the Exuma Sound, as it has never been studied before.

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We started off this semester of Research with orientation, which was followed by several weeks of fieldwork. In the midst of our fieldwork weeks, we had a project introduction presentation. This consisted of sharing and introducing our study with the rest of the Island School community. Since then we have analyzed field data, put together presentations that we presented to our parents, and next week we will be presenting to researchers and government officials from around the world.

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by Julia, Boden and Fiona