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Exuma Sound Ecosystem Research Project

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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 subtropical and tropical ecosystems found elsewhere in the world. Researchers here at CEI have studied the fringes of the Exuma Sound extensively over the past ten years, but 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 to inform the siting of marine protected areas in these pelagic areas that are often ignored in conservation plans.

The goal of the Exuma Sound Ecosystem Research Project is to provide the data necessary to sustainably manage these incredible habitats here in The Bahamas and elsewhere around the world.