UNIVERSITY Marine Science students from the UK are currently on island, through Caribbean Elective, to assist the Saint Lucia National Trust by conducting research on the ecology and economic valuation of natural resources in Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island. The students have been reported to be enjoying the experience as they go along. The students have been examining the health of Saint Lucia’s sea grass, the species of fish in our waters, the prevalence of coral disease, and the effects of land sediments on the coral around Pigeon Island. The students, who are experienced in research on marine biology, have volunteered to conduct this endeavour through Caribbean Elective’s Volunteering Projects Programme, which aims to support nature conservation and youth development.
So far, the students have been collecting data through the collaboration of the National Trust, and evidence shows that they are having a good time doing so. They have been paying considerable attention to the tropical marine eco-systems in our region. Evidence which is being collected from land and below water will be analysed to assist the National Trust in the conservation of Saint Lucia’s ecosystem. The voluntary research of the students, particularly on the prevalence of coral disease, will be beneficial to the National Trust as the corals in the region, and around the world, are under the additional threat of global warning. This initiative complements the coral restoration projects and the coral reef early warning systems which have been implemented in our waters.
Marine Biology students are not the only ones working on this research as they are assisted by geography and chemistry students as well. The students are here until September 30th and are already looking forward to returning to Saint Lucia.