By: Austin Lin
The CIEE Research Station Bonaire (CIEE RSB) taps into more than just education and outreach, we sustain numerous on-going research projects by our students and staff. With that in mind, the research faculty of CIEE RSB traveled to the 45th Benthic Ecology Meeting (BEM) in Portland, Maine. This three-day scientific conference is one of the most prominent scientific meetings for marine scientists in North America, hosting numerous venues that feature different areas of research in marine benthic ecology. The goal of the meeting is to exchange information about marine benthic ecology and educate future benthic ecologists with recent research. As a fellow participant of BEM, CIEE RSB invited alumni to present their work at BEM as a form of career development. BEM was the perfect event for achieving CIEE RSB’s mission statement of providing educational opportunities and collaborating with ongoing research and conservation efforts.
At BEM, both alumni research and faculty research were presented in the form of oral or poster presentations. James Peyla, one of the invited alumni, presented his academic research on diver impact on Bonairian reefs via the poster session. In addition to our alumni work, Rachel Kahn presented her academic research on filtering efficient of Caribbean reef sponges in the Ecophysiology session. As for our faculty research, Dr. Enrique Arboleda presented the discovery of the fluorescent patterns on the bearded fireworms, Nathaniel Hanna Holloway presented the progress on monitoring coral reefs with two-dimensional, large-scale photomosaics, Sara Buckley presented the findings about the effects of UV light on zooplankton composition, and Austin Lin presented the results on the reproductive ecology and post-spawning vitality of sea wasps. The research presented at BEM only provides a brief snapshot of all the on going and past marine research projects at CIEE RSB.
Aside from our accomplishments at BEM, we realized that the professional realm of marine science is a small world indeed. Our trip to Maine also turned into an unexpected CIEE alumni meeting. Kayley You Mak and Catie Alves, former CIEE RSB students, and Stephanie Villalobos, former Intern, were also presenting their work at BEM. As a part our alumni connection, CIEE arranged a tour of their Headquarters in Maine. This opportunity provided our alumni with the chance to bond and share the wonderful experiences they had at the research station.
The trip to Maine turned out to be a valuable experience for both our staff member and our alumni.