Rapid Ecological Assessments (REAs)
Ecological assessments are done for many different reasons in The Bahamas. The BNT conducts REAs to gather information about the state of the environment within and outside of national parks. This helps with park planning and management activities; help us identify new areas to protect; and gives us an understanding on the health of habitats and species of concern.
Reverse the Decline
This project is funded by Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and is aimed at reversing the decline of key reef building coral species in The Bahamas. It seeks to address the complex issues of reef ecosystem degradation, loss of key reef building corals and decline in other important reef species.
Coral reefs in The Bahamas, like the rest of the world, have been experiencing declines over the past 30 years. Key reef builders such as the branching Elkhorn and Staghorn corals, that were once major structural engineers of reefs, suffered significant losses. In response to this, the Reverse The Decline (RTD) project, along with many partners, is a long-term strategy of research, conservation, policy and education.
Research: This component of the project looks at the connectivity of the reefs via larval transport; restoring the important algae-eating Long Spine Sea Urchin (Diadema) and other key species to improve reef resilience; and creating a network of coral nurseries to restore key sites around The Bahamas.
Conservation: This component is in collaboration with other partners which aims to expand marine protected areas (MPAs); develop an IUCN RedList for corals and important reef fish species; and develop a standardized protocol to help investigate and collect evidence from a wide-range of human impacts on coral reefs.
Education: This component is aimed at updating the existing tools to include data from the project; creating complimentary materials for policy makers and other audiences; and training of more Bahamians in assessments and restoration of reefs.
Policy: This component is looking to finalize the coral reef act; update fisheries regulations for parrot fish and Nassau grouper; and develop a restoration fund.
The Queen Conch (Lobatus gigas), an important staple to the Bahamian economy, ecology and culture; appears to be in great decline across the archipelago. Conchservation aims to transform the Bahamian Queen Conch fishery to allow the population to rebound to ecologically significant numbers. Through collaborative research, coordinated citizen science, and socioeconomic analyses, Campaign partners will encourage effective management of the fishery and foster social acceptance of new management measures.
For more information on Conchservation, visit our Conchservation page.
Eco-Tour Guide Training Program
A partnership with Audubon and the Ministry of Tourism, this project aims to equip interested persons with the knowledge, experience and tools to deliver state of the art nature tours. This is being executed as pilot projects on both Andros and Inagua. The program is largely bird-based but graduates at the advanced level are very knowledgeable about the natural history of The Bahamas and the different aspects of running a successful business.
Shore Bird Conservation Project
Shore birds are highly endangered world-wide as their primary habitat, the sea shore, is becoming developed, disturbed by invasive species and human activities. These birds are generally migratory, and these issues, therefore span many countries. The BNT has partnered with BirdLife International to help better assess the populations of certain highly endangered shore birds like the Piping Plover; assess prime habitat; habitat restoration; education and outreach; and incorporate these areas into the national park system.
Climate Change Action Plan
A partnership with BirdLife International, the BNT is in the process of developing a Climate Change adaptation strategy for the national parks and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) on the islands of Grand Bahama, Abaco, New Providence, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma, San Salvador and Inagua.
The Global Information systems (GIS) unit is concerned with the mapping of national park boundaries; management zoning within those boundaries; habitat and resource mapping; for the purposes of effective management planning.
Assisting Researchers in the Field
The BNT science staff are in the field assisting research throughout the country. Some current research includes Nassau Grouper assessment; Mangrove restoration activities; Bahama Oriole assessment; Bahamian boa constrictor genetics; and many other projects going on in the country.
National Park Research Projects
The BNT is currently setting up ongoing research projects within national parks in collaboration with the education department. This will enable the parks to have ongoing activities for high school and college level students to participate in and allow the BNT to collect data over time. Some of these projects include insect collecting; forest surveying; invasive species monitoring; fish population studies as well as others.