Touch down! Yesterday afternoon I once again stepped foot onto the white sand at Carrie Bow Cay. It’s been about eight months since my last visit, and I’m ready and raring to jump straight into research (in fact today I caught 21 stomatopods). But first, let me introduce you to Carrie Bow.
Carrie Bow is a small island on the Belizean barrier reef, about a 45 minute boat ride out from Dangriga. The Smithsonian Institution has had a research station here since about 1972, although it has been rebuilt several times due to hurricanes and an electrical fire. Despite that, there are some great facilities here and it’s an excellent location for perform studies on coral reefs, tropical organisms, mangroves and seagrass. In fact, there have been over 900 research articles published relating to research performed on Carrie Bow. It’s becoming a hot spot for monitoring coral reef health and the effect of marine parks on coral health and fish abundance.
For me, and others before me, Carrie Bow is an ideal location to research stomatopods. So far I’ve seen 5 different species here, 4 of which are in shallow waters. The species I work on (Neogonodactylus oerstedii) can be found on snorkel about two steps into the water around Carrie Bow. Whenever I’m here, I can just jump in the water, collect a couple of dozen, set them up in tanks and then start experiments! It’s a great set up!
Photo: Giant stomatopod! Lysiosquillina glabriuscula
Over the next few weeks I will be using these facilities to the max to make sure I get the most out of my time here. I intend to come back with heaps of data and hopefully wow you all with some amazing discoveries!