Project Description: Cruising for Conservation - Group Foraging of Coral Reef Fishes in the Eastern Caribbean and the Implications for Local Diversity

Summary

This project was initiated in 2000 to study how facilitative interactions among coral reef fishes contribute to local diversity, and has since spanned the globe, including two missions to the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory. The most recent iteration of the project was initiated in 2017 as part of a new program called Cruising for Conservation, in which all research operations are conducted from a Carnival Cruise line ship. Students participating in the project first participate in a week-long marine conservation meeting on-board a cruise ship. Daily excursions from the ship to particular islands are used to collect data on group foraging. In 2018 the project departed from Miami and included Grand Bahama, St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands), San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos).

Student Involvement

To date, the most recent iteration of this project has engaged 13 CSU undergraduate students.

Broader Significance

The data collected as part of this project are being added to the global review of group foraging activities, providing critical information on how coral reefs are structured and how they will likely respond to increasing pressures in the future. By conducting the project aboard a Carnival Cruise ship the project is engaging new audiences, both academic (conference attendees) and the general public (cruise participants).

IfAME Principal Investigator

Dr. James Lindholm

Financial Support

Cruising for Conservation; Donations to IfAME and Rote Programs

Field Support

CSUMB Research Diving Program

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