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Turks and Caicos Islands: Marine Resource Studies (SFS)


Todd Heidt

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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This School for Fields Studies (SFS) program in the Turks and Caicos focuses upon marine resource studies. Snorkeling and scuba diving in the waters surrounding South Caicos, students learn field research and monitoring techniques to identify and assess the health of a wide range of marine organisms and habitats. Students learn to identify and observe the behavior of marine species, assess coastal and marine habitats, quantify fisheries resources, and analyze implications of fishery policies. The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government has an extensive network of 34 protected areas, but its effectiveness is still not fully understood. With the Admiral Cockburn Land and Sea National Park and East Harbour Lobster and Conch Reserve at their doorstep, students evaluate the concept and practice of marine protected ares (MPAs) as a resource management tool.

In the community, students consider the challenges of assessing the rights and needs of local stakeholders and reconciling those with conservation goals. Fisheries management and market engagement require considered analysis of the costs and benefits of species protection, fishing techniques, and market dynamics, all in the context of global and national markets and policies. Assessing the feasibility and ecological viability of resource management and habitat conservation options, including their associated socioeconomic implications, brings students face-to-face with the real-life dilemmas that challenge governmental regulators and the residents of South Caicos. The growing tourism industry in TCI is increasing the demand for reef fish on restaurant menus. Local fishers on South Caicos recognize this market, and commercial sale of select fish species is rapidly increasing. In addition to 'no take' MPAs, TCI has recently established size and other restrictions on several commercially important species. The impact of these new policies will be reflected in the program's research efforts. Through field observation, exercises, and research, students learn the concepts and skills needed to understand marine ecosystems and island community dynamics.

Learn more about the SFS Turks and Caicos: Marine Resource Studies program.

Credits: 4.5 Knox credits for successful completion of the fall or spring semester.

Advisor: Professor Katherine Adelsberger

Click here for more information about the application process, program selection, and more!

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022