KIDO : Field Research and Workshops

Carriacou and the Southern Grenadines Archipelago, Grenada, West Indies stretch north from Grenada. While many islands of the Eastern Caribbean have suffered from decades of tourism and its attendant environmental impacts, the Grenadines remain remarkably unscathed. This chain of tiny islands serves as the last refuge for species endangered or threatened on other islands including iguanas, tree boas, sea turtles, and a diversity of land and marine birds such as the brown pelican.

KERS serves as the base for Earthwatch Institute’s “Biodiversity of the Grenadines” expedition whose research mission is to Survey the ecological resources of undeveloped Caribbean islands to plan for sustainable tourism.

Groups are welcome to use KERS as a base for their educational and ecological research activities. We can accommodate up to 23 on site and can make arrangements to house more nearby if needed. We have foot access to a secluded bay where the 57′ sailing catamaran Hokule’a is moored and available for charter.Telephone, computers, laptop stations, a projection device, and broadband Internet access are available in the KERS main office.

Some research projects (completed and ongoing) include:

Mangrove Ecology & Restoration
In association with Boston University, Department of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, the major mangrove forests of Carriacou were surveyed in 1994, and an area in Petit Carenage selected as the site of a full investigation of ecosystem scale mangrove ecology. Specifically, this ongoing investigation examines both existing and planted mangroves, considering interactions between plants and the soil environment, as well as the effect of bioturbation by resident crab species on soil biogeochemistry within both healthy and disturbed mangal. Because Carriacou’s mangrove resources remain largely unhindered by development and/or other destructive activities, ecological investigation of this system provides a unique opportunity to consider ‘natural’ conditions. In addition to providing a mangrove resource base for Carriacou, such an investigation is a useful tool for comparison to degraded mangrove ecosystems common on other more developed Caribbean islands aiming towards the development of restoration and wetland enhancement strategies. As a follow-up, an additional 3000 red mangroves were planted in December 2003. For more information, contact Mr Gregg Moore, Boston University. E-mail – gmoore@bu.edu.

Reef Ecology 
A comprehensive survey of the existing reef system surrounding Carriacou was completed to assess system health and functional values. The data collected will be utilized towards the development conservation management strategies designed to protect remaining resources for the future. The survey, conducted by faculty and university students, documented a wide variety of factors believed to be indicative of the relative health of the existing reef system. Hands-on surveys recorded the extent of both live and dead corals, noting inhabitants of these reef systems throughout the areas. The preliminary results are being reviewed to develop an action plan for future and continued research and monitoring. For more information, contact Dr David Patriquin, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, conductor of research on the sea grasses of Carriacou and a preliminary survey on the state of the reef surrounding Sandy Island. For more information contact Dr Stephen Price, a Canadian biologist who conducted research on Carriacou’s surrounding reef and coastal areas. E-mail – purnimap@uvic.ca.

Ethnobotany
Over a three year period, a team of U.S. university and high school students conducted a comprehensive survey to document the traditional use of plants as medicines, rituals, folklore, and art. A local pharmacopoeia has now been compiled with the cooperation of the people of Carriacou.

Other examples of field studies based at KERS serves Salem College marine biology, Chatham College creative writing, and the WIDECAST study.