Island School students present research to symposium attendants.

(November 30, 2013- Eleuthera, Bahamas) Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) and The Island School hosted their bi-annual Research Symposium. Island School fall 2013 semester students shared their research through project presentations and poster sessions.

 “The most important thing we do is communicate our research to the public,” said Aaron Shultz, Director of CEI, in his opening remarks. The event brought together regional stakeholders in marine conservation including representatives of The Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology (BEST) Commission, the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA), Save the Bays, the Bahamas National Trust, students from the Deep Creek Middle School’s community resource center, local fisherman, other public figures, and neighbors.

 Scotiabank was represented by Bridgette Bowe-Newman, Manager of the Rock Sound branch, who presented a $5,000 cheque to the Deep Creek Middle School. “Scotiabank, in alignment with its Young Futures Program, is honored and privileged to award this financial support,” said Bowe-Newman. The financial award brings Scotiabank in as a corporate sponsor of the DCMS. The cheque was accepted by DCMS students, CFO Christian Henry, and Dr. Joanna Paul, Director of Education and Advancement for the Cape Eleuthera Island School.


Bridgette Bowe-Newman of Scotiabank presents a $5,000 cheque to the Deep Creek Middle School accepted by DCMS students, CFO Christian Henry, and Dr. Joanna Paul, Director of Education and Advancement for the Cape Eleuthera Island School.

 Island School Student presentations were followed by Dr. Rhianna Neely who shared her own doctoral research on climate change risk perceptions by Bahamians. Neely opened her presentation by celebrating the advanced scientific work being done by young people at The Island School.

The Keynote address was given by Dr. Edith Widder, Co-Founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association. Widder was introduced by Dr. Edd Brooks of CEI who thanked her for her support naming her as an instrumental element in the expansion of the Shark Research Program at CEI. “The more seismic shifts that have allowed us to increase the capacity of our work have come from Edith,” said Brooks, going on to celebrate her as “an ocean explorer in the truest sense.”

 Widder shared stories and results coming out of decades of underwater research and exploration. She shared images from the Medusa, a pioneering mechanism of deep water imaging, which recently captured famous footage of the legendary Giant Squid, and captivated the audience with a call to action to confront global challenges of marine conservation.

 “One of the reasons I love The Island School is because of the environmental challenges facing the 21st century,” stated Widder. “We are not passing on the tools to address those challenges, with the exception of places like The Island School, there are far too few places like this in the world.” She went on to encourage the crowd to embrace discovery and seek out new solutions to problems confronting the world’s oceans. “One of the tools we will need is optimism,” Widder explained. “It is only the optimists in the world who find solutions. You are the problem-solvers, you can find solutions.”

Student Research Presentation topics included:

  • Factors affecting the distribution of sea turtles in Half Sound, Eleuthera
  • Improving aquaculture production, performance and sustainability
  • The abundance and biodiversity of deep-water species in the Exuma Sound
  • Behavioral response of nearshore fish to climate change
  • Reef fish settlement patterns around Cape Eleuthera
  • Fishermen perspectives and reef fish populations in South Eleuthera
  • Impact of invasive lionfish on local lobster behavior
  • Physiological and behavioral response of sharks to capture

For more information about The Island School or ongoing research programs at the Cape Eleuthera Institute visit or