The Exuma Sound, located in the eastern Bahamas, is a partially enclosed body of water covering almost 10,000 square kilometers of open ocean habitats. This region is home to many sharks, whales, seabirds, game fishes, and more. It is also relied upon for food and recreation.
These crystal-clear waters are characterized by low levels of nutrients that are typical of similar subtropical and tropical ecosystems. Researchers here at CEI have studied the fringes of the Exuma Sound extensively over the past ten years, but we have yet to investigate life in the pelagic realm. The species that occur here, how they interact with each other, and how they behave in a relatively pristine environment, remains a mystery.
As The Bahamas strives to protect 20% of the marine environment by 2020, there is a growing need to recognize the value of offshore resources and inform the siting of marine protected areas in these pelagic areas that are often ignored in conservation plans. Our research goal is to provide the data necessary to sustainably manage these incredible habitats here in The Bahamas and elsewhere around the world.