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Bonaire

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TROPICAL MARINE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION                                                    August 2017

A Fantastic Summer on Bonaire

We were excited to be able to offer two college and two high school programs over the summer. It was a busy season and very rewarding to see the next generation of explorers, ocean advocates, and marine scientists engage in the unique environments and culture of Bonaire. Featured in this edition we have articles from both college and high school programs. Read more below to see what they had to say!

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College Program

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CIEE Intern Wins Best Student Presentation

By Dr. Franziska Elmer This month, four of our CIEE staff, Dr. Peachey, Dr. Elmer, Courtney Klatt, and Maddie Emms, travelled to Merida Mexico to exchange scientific knowledge with other Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean at the biennial AMLC meeting. Dr. Peachey was in charge of organizing the conference and making sure it ran as smoothly as it did. Meanwhile, …

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Public Lecture: Student presentations

Over the last 2 months, our students have carried out 3 intensive and exciting research projects concerning marine ecology of Bonaire. The focus of their study: Group one: Identification and life cycle of the parasite affecting Ocean Surgeon fish Group two:  Settling preferences of coral recruits Group three: Predator fish assemblages in Bonaire The students will present their research findings …

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Oil Spill from Trinidad

By Martijn Koot Sad news from over the summer: a large oil spill from a container in Trinidad that was washed to the shores of Bonaire. History has taught us how dangerous oil spills can be to the health of ecosystems, such as Exxon Valdez to Deepwater Horizon. On our shores we saw birds and crabs covered in oil and can …

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High School Sessions

Two sessions of High School Global Navigators each spent three weeks on Bonaire, jumping into a new world of diving, marine biology, and island cultural experiences. Included are several student-written pieces on daily life as well as articles on topics of interest.

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A Day in the Life...

INTO THE BLUE

By Fatimah Fair

It is our 3rd day in Bonaire, and our venture to become open water certified scuba divers has officially commenced. We started the day off with scuba theory class, which honed in on the mechanics, physics and important skills to be aware of when diving. We then walked to the beach for a group snorkel, and practiced the skills that we had been introduced to the day before. This included mask clearing, diving without the mask to practice breathing out of our mouths, and partner guiding. Breathing continuously out of your mouth sounded simple, but it took a lot of concentration to get used to it. Luckily, our instructors helped me every step of the way so I was eventually able to do every skill. After the group dive, half of the group went on their first scuba lesson, while the other half went on another snorkel. I was with the snorkel group, and we swam out into the clearest blue water imaginable. We saw various forms of marine life, from coral to hundreds of baby fish to a stingray! We practiced “duck diving”, allowing us to dive deeper and get closer to the marine life rather than simply observing from overhead in awe.  Although snorkeling was phenomenal, I am beyond excited to start diving tomorrow! 

Ayo pa awor! (Goodbye for now!)

LEARNING CORAL BIOLOGY: A JOURNEY OF 1,000 STEPS

By Alyssa Wijnand

Today we started our day with a nice breakfast of burritos prepared by Cassidy and James. After that everyone got ready for our coral biology class on the other side of the street in the CIEE classroom. In class we learned a lot about how the coral really functions. For example that coral isn't a rock but a living creature. Then we got a 15 minute break to get snacks and drinks and went back to class and did some quizzes. After lunch we went to 1000 Steps and had a really nice snorkel. While we were snorkeling John and Ajay asked us to identify the corals that they have pointed out for us. After the snorkel we got to have a very nice swim. After dinner we had a cupcake competition. The challenge was who could make the best polyp cupcake and a good explanation with it. The winners of the cupcake battle where Wendi and Eric. 

Editors note- Alyssa is a Bonaire local, participating in STINAPA's Junior Ranger Program. STINAPA is a non-profit organization that is in charge of conserving the natural beauty and habitats of the island. We are glad to have her in the program!

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The Reef’s Most Important Vegetarian

By Gretchen Wichman The most lovely of all Osteichthyes! Parrotfish are the fluorescent friends of Bonaire’s coral reefs; they use their strong jaw and fused teeth (beak) to chomp on coral and algae. In turn creating a healthy reef, keeping the algae at bay, and creating homes for anemone, coral, and jellyfish polyps. Every time a Parrotfish bites off a …

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HSSA Tackles Tar and Trash

By Bryan Ordonez-Santini In a day, the average American can produce up to 4.4 pounds of trash. In a week, that number grows up to 30.8 pounds, and in a year it will total to 1,606 pounds. Most people will have the common sense and morality to throw away or recycle their trash. Others however, tend to throw away their trash wherever is …

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Ostracods: A Dazzling Display

By Nicole Kragness On the bus we all anxiously await the adventure we have in store. A short ride later we arrive at our destination: a scenic dive site on the northeast side of the island ironically called Oil Slick. The sea glows in the sun and shines its bright radiant blue with not a trace of oil in sight. …

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