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Spring Break Field Trip to San Salvador Island, Bahamas: March ’99

By Contributing Writer on February 8, 1999

Eight students in Connie Soja’s Seminar on Reefs (Geology 426) spent spring break in the Bahamas with Connie and her husband, Brian White (Smith College), exploring Pleistocene and modern reefs on San Salvador Island. Students focused on identifying coral, algal, and fish communities to determine guilds and diversity trends in nearshore and offshore reefs.

Underwater cameras and slates facilitated data collection and recording, including recognition of the widespread decline of the staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in the Bahamas and Caribbean. Exciting encounters with Great Barracudas, turtles, spotted rays, parrotfish, and a diversity of scleractinian corals (remember from Paleo class??) made the trip a wonderful educational exercise! Thanks to Colgate and the Geology Department for funds that subsidized the costs of this trip.

Click the image below to launch a slideshow of images from the trip.

Students pose for a photo on the beach

Survivors of the first snorkel dive on “Dump Reef”

Two students review papers at a table.

Jann Vendetti and Kate Clark work in the lab on algae identification

Students pose next to a cross on the beach

Posing at the site where Christopher Columbus first reached the New World

Students laying in the sand

Becoming a part of the sedimentary record in Fernandez Bay

Students snorkeling in the water

Snorkelers in Pigeon Creek

Students point at an area of an exposed Pleistocene reef on the beach

Discovering ecological baselines in Pleistocene reefs of Grotto Bay

Students pose for a photo around a coral on a beach

Encircling a Pleistocene fossil of brain coral, Diploria strigosa

An underwater image of a fish and coral

A juvenile blue tang nibbling algae growing on common star coral, Montastrea annularis, in Snapshot Reef.

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