In 2019, GAEA began a project funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada, named "Restoring climate refuges for migratory birds and building community engagement with nature". The project aims to establish reference conditions for mangrove forests in Grenada, which can then be used to improve our current mangrove restoration protocol and increase survival and success rates.
The research involves surveying the vegetation, environmental conditions, and biological communities (birds, plants, zooplankton and fish) at four sites on the island, and is carried out by a team of researchers and field assistants from SGU and abroad. Our own Project Administrator, Zoya Buckmire, is working along with this project to conduct the thesis research for her Master's degree.
You can learn more about GAEA Conservation Network and the work that they do here.
Ongoing Mangrove research by GAEA Conservation Network
The Koper Lab is a group of graduate students and academics at the University of Manitoba, Canada, led by Dr. Nicola Koper. They have been conducting avian research in Grenada since 2015. Several students have researched various aspects of the Grenadian bird community, from breeding period and nesting success to habitat selection and morphology.
A few Grenadian academics - Jody Daniel-Simon, Ezra Campbell-Lucas, and Ramon Williams - have all completed their Master's as part of the Koper lab, and our Project Administrator Zoya Buckmire is a current student with Dr. Koper.
You can find details of the Koper lab's research in Grenada here, and more about the lab in general on their website here.
Ongoing Bird research by Koper Lab
In 2000, Ocean Spirits implemented a research study in the north east of Grenada with the aim of evaluating the current status of leatherback sea turtle nesting population. Since then, they have collected sea turtle nesting data every year at two beaches on main island Grenada as well as several of the nearby Grenadines.
Their findings have shown that the nesting site found at Levera Beach alone is home to one of the top three populations of nesting leatherbacks in the Caribbean region, and that high levels of illegal egg poaching are threatening the population. Ocean Spirits is actively tackling this issue and has considerably reduced this threat to <5% on the main index nesting beach, Levera Beach.
The Grenadine islands are home to some of the most regionally important seabird nesting sites in the Caribbean. Among the scientists researching seabirds in this archipelago are recent Arkansas State University graduate Wayne Smart and regional non-profit Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC).
Mangrove and seagrass ecosystems provide a critical nursery function for many coastal species of fish and crustaceans. Two research projects have been conducted (in 2017 and 2018) on the effects that mangrove and seagrass presence has on the fish community along the coast.
The posters are available for viewing and download here.
Mangroves and seagrasses shape fish communities
In 2011, a group of students and professors at the St. George's University conducted a comprehensive avian survey of the Woburn, Calivigny, and Mt. Hartman mangrove systems. They found 15 species of water-dependent birds, including sandpipers, plovers, waterfowl, and herons like the yellow-crowned night heron pictured here.
This paper is not published in a scientific journal, but you can contact the lead author Leyana Romain for a copy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bird diversity and abundance in Grenadian mangroves