We design our Earthwatch Teen Expeditions specifically and exclusively for 15- to 18-year-olds. They’re unlike any other experience a teenager can have.
Do something special this summer: snorkel through tropical reefs, find out how we can protect them, and meet fascinating people from around the world.
Coral reefs are hugely important to people and animals. They help defend shores from storms and waves and draw visitors to countries that depend on tourism. But these benefits - known as “ecosystem services” - are under threat. Many reefs and the seagrass beds, mangrove creeks, and patch reefs (small reefs in shallow water) that border them suffer from climate change, overfishing, and coastal development.
Marine reserves (areas where people can visit but not fish or build) are keys to saving reefs. But for reserves to work, they must be well designed. Biologists already know they need to include seagrass beds, mangroves, and coral to best support fish. But most tropical seas have lots of these habitats. Which should be part of marine reserves?
Help find answers by snorkeling in the clear waters off the Bahamas, identifying fish and observing their behavior. You’ll also record environmental data such as water depth and plant density. Through experiments in an aquarium lab, you’ll track fish behavior in different conditions. Armed with data, researchers can begin to truly understand how to protect these rich ocean habitats.