The Brewers Bay Ecosystem Analysis Project
BREWERS BAY beach
The Center for Marine & Environmental Studies (CMES) is uniquely located literally steps away from Brewers Bay Beach. Taking advantage of this resource, research efforts are coalesced into this area, generating a body of baseline data which researchers may build upon. The Brewers Bay Ecosystem Analysis Project (B-BEAP) promotes inter-disciplinary questions and facilitates participation among UVI faculty and students, k-12 teachers and students, and the general public.
The Brewers Bay project is designed to engage faculty and students in research, for its ease of access to a field site and to facilitate collaboration. In 2018 the Masters of Marine and Environmental Studies (MMES) program at the University of the Virgin Islands successfully graduated 17 master’s students. Of these students 10 had completed part or all of their thesis research in Brewers Bay. The diversity of projects covered a wide variety of disciplines. Several thesis projects focused on the effects of the invasive seagrass , Halophila stipulacea, on habitat use, movement and foraging behavior. These theses included research on green sea turtles (Mitchell, Gehrke, Cassell), sea urchins (Cassell), sting rays (Donihi), snappers (Heidmann, Duffing-Romero), recovery of sea grass beds following hurricane Earl in 2010 (Mitchell), variability in blue carbon storage (Jensen).
Many of the above studies relied on data collected from the array of acoustic receivers in Brewers Bay as did one on Hawksbill sea turtles (Johansen). Other projects included, abundance and distribution of lionfish (Thompson) and prevalence of microplastics (Lasseigne). UVI faculty advising these students include M. Brandt, K. Grimes, S. Habtes, P. Jobsis, R. Nemeth, T. Smith and T. Turner.
The newest cohort of MMES students is continuing some of these studies based on new questions or initiating new research for the Brewers Bay Ecosystem Study.
current and ongoing Research*
*Not a comprehensive list
Hawksbill Sea Turtles vs Irma & Maria
What do sea turtles do when faced with a major Category 5 hurricane?
Halophila stipulacea continues to thrive in the Caribbean. It is tenacious and competes efficiently for space with native seagrasses.