ARMADA logo ARMADA Project -- Research and Mentoring Experiences for Teachers

Coastal Ecology of the Bahamas

Greer Harvell, ARMADA Master Teacher

Print Resources
  • Craig Robert M. 1991. Plants for Coastal Dunes. United States Department of Agriculture.
    This booklet written by Robert Craig, State Resource Conservationist (ret.) covers all issues involved in coastal erosion. Most helpful is the listing of plants conducive to preventing erosion along with hints on where and when they should be planted. In addition, there is one section on "sand trapping devices" that explains to the students why picket fencing is sometimes spotted on the beach.
  • (EPA) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology Division, Gulf Breeze, Florida. 1999. The Ecological Condition of Estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Extremely useful, if somewhat outdated publication that thoroughly discusses all facets of local estuaries. Also explained are acronyms and what they stand for that you frequently run across during research, but aren't always sure what they mean (i.e., SAV- Submerged Aquatic Vegetation).
  • Hammerton, John L. Bahamas Journal of Science, 2001. Casuarinas in the Bahamas: A Clear and Present Danger.
    This article was very interesting as it seeks to disabuse readers of the misconception that the use of Casuarina's on the Bahamas coast is a viable means of decreasing coastal erosion. Further, it explains that they are not native to the area, but have become naturalized and in fact do more harm than good, as they not only do not slow or prevent erosion, they give a false sense of security to citizens of the coast.
  • Sealey, Neil, 2001. Small Hope Bay- The Cycle of Casuarina Induced Beach Erosion.
    This article, (written by my Principle Investigator's husband) picks up where the previous article leaves off, using visual representations in the form of photos, documenting Casuarina induced beach erosion. This article is rather case specific as it sites a sense of urgency for the area following Hurricane Michelle as well as measures taken by the proprietors in response to the chronic sand loss, and as such was useful only in that it helped me to have a greater understanding of the role this invasive/naturalized species is playing on the coast of the Bahamas.
  • Drouin, P.,Welty, D., Repeta, D., Engle-Belknap, C., Cramer, C., Frashure, K., and Chen, R. 2006. Seeing the Carbon Cycle. Science Scope 29 (4): 14-18.
    I was somewhat disappointed after reading this article that it was not exactly what I was expecting it to be. However, it does contain some great visuals in the form of concept maps to help students to understand the big picture and how it relates to us here on the beach. It also has step by step instructions for growing Closterium algae that demonstrates the condition of dissolved gases in the environment. I wasn't brave enough to attempt it this year, but it is definitely going in the "to do" file for next year.
  • Joyner, L. 1998. A Guide to Protecting Our Surface Waters. Northwest Florida Water Management District.
    Great "one stop" resource for information on local water resources. Of particular interest is the section of the Pensacola Bay System including Escambia, Blackwater, Yellow, and Shoal Rivers. Many of these destinations are popular for northwest Florida residents who enjoy camping, canoeing, or fishing (hopefully raising the interest factor for students as they can relate some life experience to discussions of the area). It also explains in laymen terms, the source of ground water in northwest Florida, and the role that the soil makeup plays in each system.
  • (NOAA) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Coastal Remote Sensing.
    This booklet was a great help in introducing me to the concept of remote sensing. I was a bit disappointed that my research experience did not really incorporate this technology (at least at my level of involvement) but found the information extremely helpful in the transfer of my research experience into the classroom. One of the speakers for our coastal ecology unit of study will be discussing turtle tracking and conservation, so this is a great tool for me (thanks Jill!)
  • Liss, P.S., Watson, A.J. 1997. Physical processes in the micro layer and the air-sea exchange of trace gases. Sources, sinks, and properties of surface films. 1-34.
    Although written at a difficulty level I struggle with (because of being unfamiliar with a lot of unexplained terminology) I am glad that I came upon this report. Many times when out in the field with students, they ask what the film on the water is. Fuel is always easy to distinguish due to the coloration of the water, but other foams and films usually have me grasping for explanations. While this report doesn't answer every question, it did provide me with valuable background information.
  • Vallega, A. 2001. Sustainable Ocean Governance, A geographical perspective. New York NY: Routledge. Science and policy facing the ocean.
    Definitely NOT an easy read, however it has a great basis for class discussion or even debates. Background information for both sides of each issue mentioned are provided. This would be a wonderful way to integrate Social Studies/ History and its impact on our environment with the study of environmental sciences. It also traces the history of ocean governance through verbal time lines. The use of tables (and the index of them) is also very beneficial to understanding the concept behind the topic.
  • Watts, S. & Halliwell, L. 1996. Essential Environmental Science: Methods and Techniques. New York, NY: Routledge.
    Wonderful resource for teachers of environmental sciences. This book encompasses the AtoZ's of the use of scientific procedures from collecting data, using the metric system, sampling techniques (most helpful to me personally was the section on the drying and storage of collected samples; water, sediment, plant, and geological. Also useful is the section that goes further in the interpretation of statistics than I have ever ventured (liner vs. non-linear relationships, correlation and regression, etc.)