Systematic investigations of marine ecosystems in the Greater Antilles are the focal projects of MCERC’s research effort.
We understand that it is critical to provide opportunities for citizen scientists and university students to gain experience in marine ecology research. Your participation and our commitment to mentoring is a key element in assuring the future of thriving marine ecosystems.
"Behavioral Ecology" is 1) the science of studying individual and group behaviors of animals of the same species, 2) taking into account the pressure that changes in their environment impose upon the success of the species to survive over time, and 3) examining the information in their context of their environment. The goal is for behavioral ecologists to be able to understand the past in order to predict what the result of human and natural activities will have on ecosystems as we move into the future.
Cetacean (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) behavioral ecology is where MCERC's journey into marine conservation began. As is often the case, important scientific discoveries gleaned from MCERC's research continues to raise more questions, and has connected a determined group of leaders with a common goal; to contribute to the health of Earth's oceans while infusing a passion for conservation that is far reaching amongst humans.
Abundance Estimates and Occurrence Patterns
The Caribbean presents challenges for field surveys of marine ecosystems. Advancements in technology are providing access to some areas that were previously inaccessible. Ceatceans in the Caribbean (whales and dolphins) are often far from shore and in small numbers where unmanned aerial systems (drones) and listening devices (hydrophones) are able to facilitate data collection at a lower cost than in the past. MCERC has a strong relationship with the Haiti Ocean Project working together to understand the ecosystem dynamics which include many species of whales, dolphins, sharks, and turtles. The 2023 meeting of the Humpback Whale World Congress provided an opportunity to have conversations with our colleagues in Jamaica and to begin working together, along with Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, towards our common goals.
Internships in Marine Resources Management
Scotland's geological history created a stunning location to examine the complexities of marine resources management.
The lochs and coastlines throughout Scotland have been a resource for small villages, and transportation routes for military and industrial operations. Wildlife is diverse and can be observed on pristine lands and nearshore areas where human activity overlaps. The marine ecosystem extends to the the land throughout the Highlands, Islands, and Lowlands. The convergence of cultures and political history shaped the management of marine resources.
Field courses with MCERC in Scotland provide a unique opportunity to examine and discuss the complex dynamics involved in protecting coastal and marines habitats, supporting economic growth, and balancing the interests in all stakeholders. We take a break from collecting data to observe, discuss, brainstorm, and debate the strategies of creating sustainable management plans. The backbone of the experience is shaped by conversations with local wildlife rangers, residents, and various industry representatives.