Over two semesters Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick and Alexio Brown led an Island School Research class focused on exploring and assessing the inland ponds of Eleuthera. These inland ponds are fragile and are under threat from human disturbance, but are rarely visited and poorly studied. The students assessed 16 sites across Eleuthera; 69% of the ponds were impacted by humans. In the few non-impacted sites, species that are new to Eleuthera were found.
Just last week, expert Professor Mary Wicksten of Texas A&M University confirmed Eleuthera is home to not one but two species of critically endangered cave shrimp, Parhippolyte sterreri and Barbouria cubensis.This further highlights the need for immediate conservation of the anchialine systems in order to protect this unique habitat and the life it supports. The ponds project is a new and exciting area of research for CEI. Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick presented the research at the 3rd International Symposium on Anchialine Ecosystems in 2015, and two of The Island School Bahamian students will present at the Abaco Science Alliance and the Bahamas National Natural History Conference in 2016. We hope to create awareness for this unique ecosystem and ensure its protection.