Climate change, global warming, ocean acidification and the impact of plastics on the marine environment are headline news almost daily. The United Nations estimates that currently 60% of all major marine ecosystems are degraded with a prognosis that by 2100 more than half of global marine species will be vulnerable to extinction. An awareness of our environment and the pressures it currently faces has become a vital issue at the forefront of the public’s consciousness. Education of the next generation of marine scientists as well as education of citizens has never been more important.
Eleuthera is part of the Family Islands of The Bahamas and is a long narrow strip of limestone, precariously straddling the Great Bahama Banks to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It has a diverse mosaic of marine habitats from mangrove creeks, coral reef systems to the deep-ocean and anchialine ponds; all making up a biologically rich, and ecologically sensitive environment.
The Centre for Ocean Research and Education conducts scientific marine research in a variety of coastal and nearshore habitats, with an ultimate agenda to promote the conservation value of vulnerable ecosystems and the species supported by them. In addition, we are committed to providing free marine science education to students and schools on the island of Eleuthera, to run parallel with, and compliment existing government science programs. In partnership with these schools, we aim to share our vision for the sustainable use of this most valuable resource, and to educate young Bahamians with a view to cultivating the next generation of science leaders and environmental thinkers for this country.
In summary, CORE aims to:
· Conduct applied scientific marine research with conservation driven goals in sensitive and vulnerable ecosystems of Eleuthera, and surrounding Family Islands.
· Establish educational initiatives designed to engage Bahamian students at a grass roots level of marine research, promoting the value of vulnerable marine resources and involving the communities of Eleuthera into the data-collection process.
· Create overseas partnerships with universities and schools to visit Eleuthera and take part in these projects for high school, undergraduate and postgraduate studies. This will further foster international relationships, and promote itself as a multicultural platform for knowledge exchange and collaborations.