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Terrestrial Natural History Internship Culminates in Research Presentations

Terrestrial Natural History Internship Culminates in Research Presentations

6/25/2017 1:27:00 PM

4th Annual Terrestrial Natural History Internship Culminates in Research Presentations

Bahamian college students, Alexandra Sinclair, Gaybrielle Smith and Brent Walkine recently wrapped up a seven week internship studying the terrestrial natural history of the Bahamas. They are the fourth cohort of students to participate in the annual internship offered by the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve and the Bahamas National Trust on Eleuthera. The program is designed to provide students with field experience in that can lead to future employment in the research and conservation field.



Throughout the seven weeks, experts from various fields taught different aspects of natural history. Dr. Ethan Freid of the Levy Preserve led the internship and taught on the subjects of botany and plant ecology.  Dr. John and Joan Mylroie of Mississippi State University took the interns throughout Eleuthera showcasing the numerous geological features of the island.  Scott Johnson of the Bahamas National Trust explored the topics of ornithology and bird conservation and Joe Wasilewski, a herpetology specialist introduced the interns to Bahamian reptiles and amphibians.

For the Botany portion, the interns learned the fundamentals of plant taxonomy and ecology as well as to sight recognize 100 common Bahamian plant species.  Once proficient in sight identifying the native trees they applied their knowledge to resurveying three Permanent Forest Plots established in previous years along the trails at the Preserve. The interns then analyzed the data collected and made comparisons to the findings of surveys by previous year’s interns. As the internship is offered in upcoming years the Permanent Forest Plots will be resurveyed to investigate the how Bahamian forests grow and change.

Using all of the natural history training received throughout the internship, the interns also conducted their own independent research projects. Alexandra focused on dune ecology, comparing the vegetation along beaches with varying coastal development. 

L to R: Alexandra, Brent, & Gaybrielle oberserve an anole
in a Permanent Forest Plot at the Preserve

Brent had a keen interest in arthropods, and compared insect visitation of two different species of flowering plants. Gaybrielle surveyed within one of the existing permanent plots to determine if Anolis sagrei, a common lizard species exhibited any species preference in the forest. Their initial findings were presented at a special BNT staff meeting at the Retreat in Nassau on June 23, 2017.


Interns huddle in a cave in North Eleuthera
with geologist, Dr. John Mylroie
 
Interns hold Bahamian sliders, residents of the Freshwater Wetland
 
Interns present their independent research to BNT staff and the community at The Retreat in Nassau
 
L to R: Falon Cartwright, Preserve Manager; Gaybrielle Smith, Intern; Alexandra Sinclair, Intern; Dr. Ethan Freid, Botanist; Eric Carey; BNT Executive Director
   



 

 

 


Hurricane Irene 2011
10/30/2011 9:00:00 AM
Eleuthera, Bahamas, March _ 2011. The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, a 25-acre sanctuary created jointly by the Bahamas National Trust and the Leon Levy Foundation, will celebrate its Grand Opening at 11 a.m., March 24 in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera.
www.bnt.bs