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Cripers to Tobago! Undergraduate field course 2014

In June, Jo C, Sarah, Jess and Willow set off for 3 weeks in Tobago to meet up with long term collaborators Cock van Oosterhout and Ryan Mohammed. This is an annual opportunity to instil CRIPES love in undergraduates, while teaching them all about ecological methods.

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This year the students had a poignant reminder of the difficulties facing conservation efforts – a dead turtle. This breeding-age female leatherback had been drowned in a fishing net set by a local man for whom fishing is the only source of income. We also had an excellent introduction into the work that Environmental Research In Charlotteville (ERIC) are doing to protect the bay.

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P1000907It is hard to resist doing research of our own during the course. Previous trips have resulted in publications on guppies and their predators, and hermit crabs. This year we collected more data for a long-term dataset on reef fish cleaning stations, attempted to characterise social networks of reef fish (not easy!) and, with new collaborators Jacek Radwan and Karl Phillips, set up a mesocosm to house parasitized guppies.

It was a busy trip, but there was also time for some liming. It is the Caribbean, after all!

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