Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bahamas Bound

Welcome to our blog of the New England Aquarium/Rogers Williams University Bahamas Expedition!

This is the first of what we hope will be many collaborative expeditions with Aquarium staff and RWU's students. We are heading to the Bahamas with RWU professor and researcher Andy Rhyne, 13 RWU students, Aquarium researcher Randi Rotjan, Aquarium staff Joe and Dan, and me, a field volunteer with the NEAq.

We began our adventure last week, when we met at the Aquarium for a series of classroom presentations and activities to prepare the group for our week on Blackbeard Cruises' Morning Star, a 65' live-aboard dive sailboat. On this expedition we will be focusing on giving the students field experience in the areas of Caribbean fish identification, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) surveys, fish collection techniques, and last but not least, assisting Andy and Randi with six of their ongoing research projects.

Our day started with John (Aquarium Dive Safety Officer) and Joe (Sr. Aquarist) explaining scientific diving procedures, followed by Dan discussing REEF surveys and fish ID. During lunch, the students conducted a REEF survey of the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT), then Sherrie, a GOT diver gave us a hands-on presentation on fish collection techniques and transportation procedures. (It should be noted that we will only be practicing fish collection techniques during the expedition. We will not be transporting any fish back to the Aquarium for display.) Randi and Andy then gave us the rundown on the six research projects that we will be working on while in the Bahamas, and Dan rounded out the classroom learning with additional training on fish ID.

We concluded our day with another walk around the GOT searching for the fish that we will be studying in just a few short weeks in their natural habitat! It was also the perfect opportunity for a group picture in front of the GOT!

Friday morning, we gathered for a second day of presentations, but this time, we met down on the Roger Williams' campus. Everyone received CPR & AED certification training, and International Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) training in the afternoon.

The next time we get together will be on our departure date, and I know I speak for everyone when I say ... that day cannot come soon enough!

I hope you stay tuned for more posts from our trip,


  1. Hello, I am Tyler's mom.
    Inquiring minds want to know what you are all up to and how beautiful it is.

  2. Hello, This is Audrey's dad and I too was wondering how things are going and what the weather is like. Too long without any communication!!