Field tropical marine biology (June 23 - 30, 2003)

This eight-day field trip to the Gerace Marine Station in San Salvador, Bahamas was an exciting learning experience for graduate students, faculty, and friends interested in tropical marine biology. Each day was packed with snorkeling, collecting, photographing, and surveying. Shallow reefs, intertidal zones, mangrove forests, and hypersaline lakes were some of the ecosystems studied.

Landscape Landsat image of San Salvador Island. The light blue areas are shallow reefs. The white area on the lower right is Pigeon Creek, a tidally dominated estuary. Light green areas represent lakes.

The island sits at 24° N, 74°W. San Salvador is just over 11 km across at its widest point and is just over 19 km long. This tropical island is warm year round. Although annual rainfall is variable, hurricanes and tropical storms occur frequently and provide most of the island's water supply.


The Gerace Marine Research Station from the sea. The station is located at the northeast tip of the island.


Each morning we packed up, loaded everything for the day onto one of the station trucks, then headed off to one of the many reefs around the island.


From shore we organized the group into several teams that worked together to survey the reef. Some of the students had never snorkeled before, so they had to learn those skills along with how to make measurements of coral, sponge, and algal cover.