Manatee Bay field trip – project students experience!

Check out Ashley’s thoughts & photos of her experience on field work at Manatee Bay!


Yesterday we revisited Manatee Bay in Hellshire as part of Ashley Codner‘s undergraduate research project (Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies). Ashley is investigating the modern ostracod assemblage and water chemistry across the lagoon. The work forms part of an ongoing broader environmental and palaeoenvironmental project at Manatee Bay ( Thank-you to Chanel Raynor, also an undergraduate in the department, for her assistance in the field. Many thanks to the guys at Port Royal Marine Lab for arranging logistics and facilitating the trip.

Manatee Bay is within the Hellshire Hills, Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA), a globally recognised hotspot for endemic biodiversity. Check out more details on Manatee Bay:

After a couple of stormy days the weather settled down so we had both a successful and beautiful day out at Manatee Bay. Check out the post below on Ashley’s thoughts of her experience! Click on photos of the trip to enlarge.

Suzanne & Mike

Ashley’s experience

After attending a Geography lecture by Dr Burn in second year about Manatee Bay I developed a desire to visit. However, timetable clashes forced me to leave the department, so I figured I would probably never get the opportunity. Luckily for me I got the chance!  Dr Burn and Dr Palmer, who work in Manatee Bay, agreed to supervise my research project.

A lingering trough resulted in a bumpy ride that left me thinking “what the heck did I get myself into”. As the boat approached Manatee Bay all that was forgotten; it was all worth it. The bay was gorgeous. When you first see the lagoon is like a scene from a National Geographic documentary, breathe taking.

This field exercise gave me the opportunity to see a part of Jamaica that most do not get the chance to see first-hand and allowed me to apply textbooks and lectures to real life scenarios.  Our team work strategy and efficiency got us through the day fairly quickly. After a while I forgot that we were working because it became so much fun. Who says field work has to be growling, we were having a ball!

It was nice to get a break from busy Kingston and be one with nature at one of the island’s secluded gems. More importantly, I was able to link theory to practical, developing my skills for future study and work. Thank you Dr. Burn and Dr Palmer for this opportunity!

Click on photos to enlarge







Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and a quick update on some of our recent activities!

Happy New Year!

Since August it has been crazy and although we have managed to post regular photos of field trips and topical posts on Facebook/Twitter have not managed to get any blog posts completed. Here are some of the things we have been up to!

New angle of research: Suzanne continues to work on her palaeoenvironmental research but has also become more involved with developing various coral reef projects in Jamaica including coral reef monitoring efforts. She is currently the Chairman of the University dive club and hopes to get more students trained as regular divers and involved in reef monitoring activities – here is to more diving in 2014!

Trip to UK: Mike headed back to the UK in October for a NERC-sponsored meeting at UCL, London with the research team. He also presented at the UCL Departmental Seminar series where his current work on drought records and hurricane activity in the Caribbean was extremely well received – nice work Mike!

Teaching: Since August 2013 Suzanne has been lecturing in the Department of Life Sciences, UWI Mona, Jamaica developing various courses (coral reef ecology, research and writing skills) and offering an interdisciplinary approach to the biologists!

Fieldwork in Jamaica: We continue to do the monthly trips to Wallywash Great Pond for lake water sampling and rainfall collection, and regular dive trips to Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory and Portland. We are looking forward to going out to the Manatee Bay, Hellshire next week with our new project student – blog & photos coming soon!

Watch this space for more research updates and output in 2014!

Mike and Suzanne

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