Trees to Seas
Jamaica Adventure Expedition 2014
Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory
July 28 to August 6, 2014
Have you always wondered what it would be like to be a marine biologist? This is your opportunity to go diving with experts to find out. Trees to Seas is hosting a 10-day Adventure Expedition to the North Coast of Jamaica. University of Hawaii Dive Safety Technician Liv Wheeler and marine ecologist Dr. Phil Dustan, a marine ecologist who teaches at the College of Charleston will inspire you to become a better steward of the sea by engrossing you in the undersea life of a coral reef. Our base will be the University of the West Indies Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, the birthplace of modern coral reef ecology. You will improve your diving skills, learn new underwater techniques, and participate in an intriguing ecological reef restoration experiment.
Discovery Bay reefs are some of the best know to science and, unfortunately are exposed to many of the problems facing modern reefs. Ironically, the very adaptations that have allowed coral reefs to become the greatest expression of life in the sea make them vulnerable to human impacts including global climate change, land-based sources of pollution, and over fishing. This summer we will be exploring the potential of transplanting sea urchins for proactive coral reef restoration to counteract the 1982-4 mass mortality of the long-spine sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, once the keystone herbivore on Caribbean reefs. The mass mortality greatly decreased grazing on reefs allowing widespread increases in algae, which overgrew live corals and greatly accelerated the ongoing collapsing ecology of coral reefs. Additionally, algal dominated substrates inhibit coral larvae settlement effectively denying any reef recovery.
Curiously, the urchins have made a comeback in shallow water but not the deeper regions of the reef. This summer Trees to Seas will be transplanting urchins from the shallows to the deeper reefs to examine the potential of re-starting their grazing activity to reduce algae that have been killing the reef-building corals and to clear space for coral larval settling. Re-establishing urchins in deeper water may be key to preventing complete the ecological collapse of the deeper reefs in the next few decades. This project is part of a larger emerging effort to increase
urchin grazing through relocation and mass culturing.
We will live and work at the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, one of the world’s premier coral reef laboratories. Participants must be open water SCUBA certified or above and there will be an opportunity for PADI Advanced Diver training for an additional fee. The program is 10 days long with 7-8 days of diving twice a day. The estimated cost is $2350, plus travel and any fees that may apply for additional certification. Additionally, the Discovery Bay Marine Lab requires that each diver be covered by DAN diver insurance. This is an excellent opportunity to work on a meaningful conservation experiment with seasoned coral reef scientists. Contact Trees to Seas at TreestoSeas@gmail.com.
Marine conservation is a burgeoning field that requires both scientific knowledge and practical underwater skills.
Diving with a Purpose: Coral Reef Conservation will expose you to Caribbean coral reefs at the birthplace of modern coral reef ecology,
Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Participants will help implement a large scale ecological experiment in which urchins will be transplanted from the shallows where they are abundant to a region of the deeper reef where they do not presently live to examine the potential of re-starting their grazing activity on algae that have been overgrowing and killing the reef-building corals. You will gain experience in:
Scientific SCUBA diving
Underwater survey techniques
Ecological experimental design
Coral reef restoration ecology
Marine Protected Areas
Sociology of marine conservation
Trees to Seas
is a Non Profit organization that brings together a community of people who are interested in making life changes to protect the natural world. Together through education and participation we can bring awareness to local issues and work together to create solutions. We believe that forward thinking and involving youth will help the next generations to be conscious of how to care for the environment in their personal lives and as a country.
We use recreational activities to enhance the personal connection between individuals and their environment. SCUBA diving is our primary activity that we share with our students and volunteers. Our students not only become divers, they become divers with a purpose. People who see how our daily decisions impact the ocean and the natural world. Once you have a personal connection to something you natrually want to care for it. These are the connections we are mak
Liv Wheeler, Co-Founder of Trees To Seas, works at the University of Hawaii Manoa as their Dive Safety Technician. She assists in the scientific dive class and teaches a preparatory Open Water class for scientists that are not yet certified. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife with a minor in Scientific Diving from Humboldt State University. Before Trees to Seas, Liv had been conducting clean up dives off the shores of Oahu and recording them in her Dive Aware blog. As a PADI Instructor she traveled to the Caribbean, starting a lion fish removal program in Belize, and working with a non-profit in the British Virgin Islands to teach scientific diving techniques to high school and college students.
“ I feel that participation is the best way to get involved and truly make a connection between a person and their environment. This connection is what inspires people to think, and become conscious of how their choices effects the health of the environment.”
Liv, is now creating communities of divers with a purpose. The purpose is to be stewards of the planet. That is where the phrase “trees to seas” comes from. The idea that we are all connected, from the depths of the ocean to the tops of the trees and beyond.
Dr. Phillip Dustan, Scientific Advisor for Trees to Seas works as a Professor of Biology at the College of Charleston, where he presently teaches Ecology, Biology of Coral Reefs, and Introduction to Tropical Ecology when classes are in session. He is a marine ecologist specializing in the ecology, vitality, and conservation of coral reefs. Phil began his reef studies at the Discovery Bay Marine Lab in the early 1970’s. Since then he has worked in the Florida Keys, Bahamas, throughout the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian, and Antarctic Oceans. He worked closely with Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau and the Cousteau Society between 1974-2001, testified to the US Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, and helped to create the USEPA Florida Keys Coral Reef Monitoring Program (CREMP). Other research experiences include being Principal Scientist onboard Calypso during the Cousteau Society Amazon Expedition, 1982-83, piloting the one-man Deepworker 2000 submersible to explore deep reefs in the Florida and mapping the distribution of marine mammal habitats in the California Current with satellite imagery. Dr. Dustan recently developed a new digital tool for exploring coral reef structural complexity (rugosity) that he uses to explore the relationship between coral and fish community ecology and the structural complexity of reefs. In the last year he and Liv began a retrospective study of reefs in Discovery Bay and Belize. Their results shocked them into initiating the current Diving with a Purpose Adventure Expedition to explore to concept of reef self-restoration.
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