Since 2000, the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation has been working in The Bahamas to forge collaborations, coordinate and conduct research, build educational capacities, and support management decision making. Our work there included the development of the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project in 2000 – which was initially focused on multidisciplinary study of diverse oceanographic, ecological, and human aspects of how marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks function in a coral reef ecosystem, and has spun off in several other research directions by CBC scientists and collaborating investigators. Because of its pioneering achievements in establishing the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park and other marine national parks, and its later additions to the park system and new fisheries reserves, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is a particularly important place for studying the physical, biological, economic, and cultural processes affecting reef ecosystems across seascapes, and to integrate all of these aspects into recommendations for conservation strategies. More recently, the CBC has also been working with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), the non-governmental organization responsible for the national park system, to develop a coral-reef-monitoring program for the Exuma Park to assist with the BNT’s adaptive management efforts there.
To support marine science and conservation education in The Bahamas, the CBC worked with the Bahamas Ministry of Education, the BNT, and other conservation organizations to develop Treasures in the Sea, a resource book that provides teachers with scientific information and engaging, hands-on activities that encourage students to discover, cherish, and protect the sea and all of its treasures. Designed especially for educators in The Bahamas, the book complements curriculum guidelines for grades three to six, though many of the activities may be adapted for younger or older students in formal and informal settings.
The CBC’s Senior Conservation Scientist, Dr. Dan Brumbaugh, also serves as an appointed representative to the BNT Council (i.e., Board of Directors), where he participates in decision-making regarding the management of the national park system and advises on other national environmental issues.