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Marine Pond Surveys on Eleuthera

The Preserve hosted a small team of explorers led by Dr. Eric Cole, Professor of Biology at St. Olaf College in Minnesota with research interests in marine invertebrates.  The team also consisted of John Campion (SCUBA instructor), Karna Campion (botany enthusiast) and Dr. Kenneth Hobson, (Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma and forest entomologist).  Their goal was to survey animal diversity within ten different marine ponds on Eleuthera in 10 days.  (They managed to visit 11)! “We view these unique habitats as “islands within islands”, where we have studied the rapid evolution of isolated populations of pearl oysters on the island of San Salvador, at the Gerace Research Centre.” said Dr. Cole.

An unexpected find: a critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle that had gotten trapped in a tiny pond.  With Dr. Nathan Robinson, Director of the Cape Eleuthera Institute, the group captured and released her to the ocean. This was the group’s first visit to Eleuthera and their stay was hugely enriched by the hospitality of the Levy Preserve.