Where are they now? A Spotlight on Previous Interns - Johnny Rader!

 conducting sand dollar RESEARCH on sanibel island

conducting sand dollar RESEARCH on sanibel island

Meet the wonderful Johnny Rader!

Johnny spent two and a half years from 2012 to 2015 at Forfar Field Station! His shared love for the ocean and marine creatures (his favorite are nudibranchs - check it out) made his passion for ocean conservation and education into a career!

Johnny reflected on the practical and boating skills he learned during his time on Andros, but emphasized the importance of the teaching skills he acquired from his experience, and access to visiting professors and educators. 

 

 Mist netting on andros island

Mist netting on andros island

Now, as an outdoor marine educator, Johnny shares his love for marine invertebrates and birds with his students! From Forfar to Sanibel Island, he is continuing to teach about ocean conservation to young and bright minds to help protect the planet for them and future generations.

When he is not sharing his love for the ocean with his students at Sanibel Sea School, Johnny loves diving in the Florida Keys and at Blue Heron Bridge. You'll find him with a nudibranch in hand and "a pair of 'binoc' to [his] face."

Way to go, Johnny! As an ambassador for ocean conservation, IFS is so proud to have helped you pursue your passion, keep up the good work!

 

IFS & Reef Rescue Network outplant corals from our propagation site!

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Our Propagation Site

The coral line nursery (as shown above) is growing 80 to 90 fragments of Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis), Elkhorn (Acropora palmata), and Fused Staghorn (Acropora prolifera) species. These species of coral provide incredibly important habitats within reefs. Unfortunately, these fast-growing coral species face many challenges in warming waters. They are particularly susceptible to bleaching events and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide which can impair coral fertilization. To learn more about coral restoration efforts and coral propagation, check out Dr. David Vaughan's research at the Mote Tropical Research Center here.

In collaboration with the Reef Rescue Network, we are excited to monitor the progress and growth of these outplanted corals! We are thrilled about the positive results from the coral propagation and restoration efforts so far in the Bahamas. These ongoing projects give us hope for the future of coral reefs, and IFS will continue to restore, support and protect these precious ecosystems.

What is coral outplanting?

Corals are grown in a nursery for about six to nine months on average. When they are deemed ready for outplanting, they are taken to predetermined restoration sites and are directly attached to the reef with a non-toxic marine epoxy or with nails and zip ties (check out this video to see the nail and zip tie method in action). Corals can then be monitored for potential threats including disease, tissue paling, and predation. Broken fragments of coral can be reattached to the reef and grow into new coral colonies that promote genetic diversity. These broken coral fragments would likely not be able to reattach themselves to the reef or survive on their own without our help.

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We are passionate about sharing the latest research and updates on the health of global coral reefs and marine conservation. Stay up to date with us here! 

The Future of Coral Propagation

We are amazed by the large scale efforts for the preservation and restoration of coral reefs being implemented today by our friends at SECORE. Coral restoration can be tedious, as each coral fragment must be manually transplanted onto the reef. However, SECORE is implementing pilot projects that utilize quicker methods for restoration in Mexico and Curacao. SECORE Seeding Units allow for rapid seeding of coral fragments (also called coral recruits). Intensive research has gone into the asexual reproduction of coral species, and the best way to propagate coral recruits with genetic diversity, while emphasizing the ability for coral species to better withstand the changing oceanic conditions that can easily stress and kill reefs.

SECORE highlights some of the greatest challenges facing the Bahamian coral reefs. Because of the shallow waters surrounding the Bahamas, the reefs are subjected to increasing water temperatures which can lead to algal growth, elevated nutrient levels and the potential for reoccurring coral bleaching (SECORE, Bahamas). Continued research aims to find the most resilient corals in a changing environment. We can't wait to follow along with their findings, projects and developing research for the health and survival of future reefs!

Click to scroll through the photos below.

Where are they now? A Spotlight on Previous Interns - Tami LaPilusa!

Today, we are excited to introduce the lovely and accomplished Tami LaPilusa!

 Jason Morrison, Tami (Ohlin) LaPilusa, Earl the dog, and Matt LaPilusa (yes, they got married!)

Jason Morrison, Tami (Ohlin) LaPilusa, Earl the dog, and Matt LaPilusa (yes, they got married!)

Tami worked as an intern at Forfar field station from September 1996 to June 1998. Her ties to Forfar and IFS are still strong today.  Tami conducts research which started with her graduate degree and continues in her current faculty position at SUNY Oneonta. Her research emphasizes conservation and sustainable management for crab species in the Bahamas, including the Christmas Island blue crab, Discoplax celeste, and the blue land crab, Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille.

She recently presented her research at the Bahamas Natural History Conference in 2016 and 2018. 

Watch her presentation from 2016 here: Crab Pen Survey & Harvest Analysis of the Land Crab

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During her internship at Forfar, Tami emphasized the skills she learned, from flexibility, adaptability, public speaking, SCUBA, watercraft operations & maintenance, to the ability to work collaboratively with others who may not share her views. She fondly recalls her relationship with local community members and the lasting friendships amongst her fellow interns.

Since her internship, Tami has held leadership positions in many organizations including her role as program director for the Boys and Girls Club. She was also the office manager for IFS at the Florida office. Currently, she is on the biology faculty at SUNY Oneonta.

In her free time, she continues to travel to different islands in The Bahamas. Her hobbies include beach exploration, hiking, and camping. 

IFS loves working in collaboration with Tami, and we are excited to share her research with you! Follow the link below to learn more about Tami's work:

Tami LaPilusa, Erratum to: Characterization of microsatellite markers from the commodity species Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille and the Christmas Island blue crab (Discoplax celeste)

Click on the images to scroll through!

 

 

 

Support IFS with your Kroger groceries!

With the Kroger Community Rewards program, you can support IFS with every purchase using your Kroger card. 

You can register online at krogercommunityrewards.com

The Kroger account will prompt you to choose your favorite (or local) store and will require your Kroger card number.

Enter 'International Field Studies, Inc.' or NPO number 51876

Now, when you use your card at Kroger, you raise money for IFS!!!

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Where are they now? A Spotlight on Previous Interns - Dale Kline!

Meet Dale Kline!

Dale lived and worked at Forfar from June 2015 to August 2016. During her time at the field station, she learned more than she expected! 

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"Forfar gave me experience not only in marine bio, but also botany, geology, diving, carpentry, plumbing, car and boat maintenance, trail management, painting, and the invaluable skill of keeping your wits about you when things go pear-shaped. That breadth of knowledge has helped me branch out from my field and make connections others would not. You have to get good at so many things at Forfar that you come out of it with way more experience than you bargained for!"

She credits her experience, from the teaching, the exploration, the team, and the island, and it's role in shaping her as a "cooler, competent, and confident person."

Today, she is the Social Media Manager for the Smithsonian Gardens, an Artist for Trader Joe’s, and a volunteer diver for the Baltimore Aquarium. She still loves diving and hiking and gardening, but has gained a bit of a fearless taste for adventure. 

Thank you Dale!

 

 

Where are they now? A Spotlight on our Previous Interns - Carolyn Belak!

In this week's spotlight, we are catching up with the incredible Carolyn Belak!

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Carolyn lived and worked on Forfar Field Station from April 2014 to January 2016. During her time on Andros Island, Carolyn found her true passion - marine invertebrates! She expressed the importance of field studies for students, saying "My time with students from the middle of the country also taught me the power of experiential learning, something that I'd like to incorporate in any job in the future."

Currently, Carolyn is pursuing her Master's degree at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Check out her published paper on a queen conch, Lobatus gigas, population in a marine protected area here!

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Before returning to school, Carolyn worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and also as a dive instructor at a shop in the Bay Area. She has had the opportunity to volunteer on a number of research trips, studying Nassau grouper and queen conch in the Bahamas, as well as plankton distributions off the coast of California.

Diving is Carolyn's passion! She told us, "I've been lucky enough to have traveled back to the Bahamas for conch work (warm water!) but have loved traversing through the kelp forests in Monterey, San Diego, and the San Juan islands. I also like to explore the local redwoods and other hikes too!"

As she reflected warmly on her time at Forfar, ("Everyday was an adventure!") we can't thank Carolyn enough for her passion and positivity during her Forfar days, and we wish her the best of luck pursuing her degree and living the adventures of life to the fullest! Cheers, Carolyn!