We recently revisited Manatee Bay, Hellshire Hills, Jamaica as part of an extension on our ongoing work http://www.caribbeanenvironments.com/research/sedimentary-records.php. Manatee Bay is one of Jamaica’s most isolated beaches and as you can see from the photos is a stunning place – however the sand flies are persistent and you have to watch out for the stingrays as the shallow bays are a major spawning ground for the Southern Stingray!
Check out this video of us approaching Manatee Bay to see why it is only accessible by boat! http://youtu.be/SMu1bEJj7WA
Manatee Bay – globally recognized biodiversity hotspot
The uniqueness and importance of Manatee Bay was illustrated by Professor Byron Wilson from Life Sciences, University of the West Indies (Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology & Head, Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group) where he has described the area as ‘containing the least disturbed and most valuable coastal habitat remaining on the island’. He stated that ‘together with a suite of endemic birds, invertebrates, and plants, and the most intact dry forest on the island, Hellshire is a treasure trove of Jamaica’s natural heritage, and is clearly the most important remaining natural coastal habitat left on the island.’ See link for full report http://www.jamentrust.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=123
Byron Wilson and his committed team continue their excellent work out in the Manatee Bay area including work on the Jamaican Iguanas, crocodiles and control of invasive species. http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/environment/Iguanas-making-a-comeback–but-still-under-threat_12365020. The whole team have been invaluable in assisting us with our work at Manatee Bay.
Our ongoing project is working on sediment cores that we recovered from the lagoon behind Manatee Bay and Coquar Bay http://www.caribbeanenvironments.com/research/sedimentary-records.php. The most recent component of the project is focusing on the ostracods. We are using ostracods to reconstruct changes in the environment over the last 1000 years.
As part of this work we are taking regular modern water samples and surface sediment samples from the lagoon. This field trip was during the latter stages of the tropical dry season. Note the drying out of the pond – watch out for future photos during the wet season!