One of the most unique and rewarding parts of running a research program at the Cape Eleuthera Institute is the role most of us play at our sister organisation, The Island School. Twice a year, 48 high school students from all over the US and The Bahamas take part in a three month semester program and one of their keystone experiences relates to the primary research undertaken at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Every semester the Shark Research and Conservation Program takes 6-8 Island School students and guides them through the scientific process, from posing a question, gathering the data to answer that question, analysing the results and finally communicating their findings to collaborating scientists and Bahamian policy makers at the bi-annual Island School Research Symposium.
Last semester, as part of the SOSF funded research, the students undertook a study looking at the distribution and abundance of juvenile tiger sharks around Cape Eleuthera. The Fall 2009 semester was especially privileged to have the Hon. Larry Cartwright, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, present at the research symposium. This allowed the Island School research team to discuss the the findings of their project, and about shark conservation as a whole with the minister directly responsible for generating marine and fisheries policy. The poster of their results can be downloaded directly from here, and all the other Island School research programs from the last two years can be found here, kindly hosted by the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.