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CARIBBEAN - conservation

Photograph compliments of Dr Karen Chaney

“We could also understand a bit about how settlement varies spatially on a scale of Barbados. It could help understand where a preservation site could most likely be located and where settlement is higher, who could benefit from protection,” Valles said.



Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Chayney

Two scientists from the McGill University, Canada, are here conducting studies on species of birds and fish that could possibly lead to their future preservation.

Behavioural scientist Andrea Griffin and doctoral student Henri Valles said upon completion of their separate studies the findings will be published.

Reef fish 

Valles, from the McGill University, Canada, is studying the settlement of reef fish along the West Coast from Batts Rock to Speightstown, said his study could have a similar result.

Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Cheney


Despite starting his research only a month Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Cheneyago, and with him now getting over some of the early challenges, Valles said there was potential to look at preserving reef fish.


From a fisheries management point of view, he said, it could even influence marine preservation planning.

Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Cheney
Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Cheney Based on some of the earlier studies done on reef fish, he said it had been found that settlement did not seem to be uniform along the West Coast, and since the last study was done in the 1990s, it would be interesting to see if anything had changed.

He said the study should last about one year, and he hoped to be able to study the effects on the fish of various elements such as the rainy season on the island among other sea changes.

Compliments of the Nation News

Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Cheney

Carib grackles (blackbirds) and the zenaiba (wood) dove.

Griffin, who arrived here in February, said her study on birds has been mainly centred around the behaviours of two species: the Carib grackles (blackbirds) and the zenaiba (wood) dove.

She said she was examining the creatures and how they identified and responded to predators, using both the areas around Folkestone Park and the controlled environment of the Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University at Folkestone, St James, as focus points.

Her study, which is looking at the birds’ ability to learn from each other; whether they can be taught different behaviours such as fear; and how they react to alarm calls should wrap up in another month, but Griffin said there were lessons to be learnt from the study.

For example, she said, birds nearing extinction and that are bred in captivity could benefit from such a study. Research had shown that animals bred in captivity had a difficult time surviving once released into the wild.

“I think we can gain fundamental knowledge about animal species out there in the wild and having an intrinsic interest in understanding how these species live.

“There are also applied implications for the extinction crisis as wildlife reintroduction is becoming so very important,” she said.

With this information, one could see whether it was possible to teach the birds which animals to fear as predators and how to seek food, among other survival skills.

“The better our understanding of what things animals find dangerous or don’t find dangerous, and especially how they acquire fear responses, will help us prepare these captive animals for release,” she added.

Compliments of the Nation News


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