Photographs of San Salvador Is., Bahamas
Tropical Field Ecology

This is a few pictures to show some of the organisms that will likely be seen during the class and to show the field station and some of the island. I am still working on this page, so things may change from day to day. This is a very graphic intense page that requires a fast modem or patience or both.

The Bahamian Field Station &
San Salvador Island

The Bahamian Field Station. The station, which is located on the northwest end of the island, was a U. S. Coast Guard station until the 1960's and is about 100 m from the beach.

This shows the grounds of the station. The building in the picture is the dorm where undergraduate students stay.

Faculty Housing. The faculty and visiting researchers quarters are along here. The main office is also in this building.

The serving line in the cafeteria. Breakfast and dinner are served in the cafeteria. Lunch may be eaten here unless we are in the field, in which case a lunch in prepared for us.

Transportation is usually by open truck. This mode of transportation provides a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. This is excellent for watching the Magnificent Frigate birds as they cruise over the island.

Ed's First and Last Stop. A local establishment run by Mr. and Mrs. Butler. You can get an excellent home cooked Bahamian meal here, if you give the owners a few days notice. Also, locals occasionally gather here to play music.

View from the Lighthouse. There is a kerosene-powered lighthouse on San Salvador Island and it is one of the few kerosene-powered lighthouse still in operation. This is looking towards the west from the lighthouse.

The Aquatic Environment

Fernandez Beach. The dark patches in the water are coral reefs. This beach is presumably close to where Columbus first landed in the New World.

Grotto Beach. This beach has excellent protection from the surf and even when most of the water around the island is choppy, condition are still excellent for snorkeling. Note the sea oats growing on the dune.

Tidal Pools. These are the tidal pools near Snow Bay. The rather extensive tidal pools that are found here are home to feather duster worms, chitins, and small fishes. We also managed to catch a small moray eel in the shallows here.

Manhead Cay. This beach is on the northern side of Manhead Cay, which is separated from San Salvador Island by about 400 m of water. This cay (pronounced key) has a population of iguanas. These iguanas were extirpated from San Salvador Is.

The edge of a patch of coral. These patches of coral can be found within 5 m of the shore and will range in size from a few meters to hundreds of meters across. Many kinds of corals and other animals can be found in these patches.

A school of blue tang cruising among the coral. Blue tang are one of the more common fishes associated with the coral reefs.

West Indian Sea Egg. These are very common in some areas. They often stick bits of debris on themselves. This one has only one piece of turtle grass, though some will have numerous pieces of debris attached to themselves. Presumably, this helps to camouflage them from predators.

Zooanthids. These are about 3 mm across and are common in the tidal pools along Graham's Harbor in front of the field station.

Elkhorn Coral. This coral is usually found growing on the barrier reef close to the surface, where it receives much wave action. This specimen was found near Caulin Cay.

Fire Coral. There are two types of fire coral, both of which have many stinging cells and thus can be quite painful if touched. This coral is very common among the reefs that surround the island.

Flamingo's Tongue. This small mollusc can be seen feeding on the polyps of soft corals. As it feeds, it leaves a patch of dead coral behind.

The boat dock at Pigeon Creek. This is an excellent site to see turtle grass beds and stands of mangroves. The current through this inlet changes with the tides and can be quite fast.

Box Crab. This crab was found in the turtle grass beds at Pigeon Creek, which is not really a creek but an inlet into the sea.

The Terrestrial Environment

Lighthouse Cave. Because of its karst topography, the island has many caves. Lighthouse Cave, as are most caves on the island, is connected to the sea by underground passages. Thus, the water levels rises and falls with the tides. The cave is also home to several species of bats and an isopod know only from San Salvador Island.

Jones Road. This is an example of the vegetation in the interior of the island. This is an excellent place to watch birds and to examine the flora of the island.

This frog is often found clinging to the undersides of leaves on plants in the dunes. It can avoid dessiccation in this harsh environment of relatively high daytime temperatures and almost direct sun by sitting quietly with its limbs tucked under its body.

Previous Classes

Class of 1993-94.

Last updated on 17 July 1996.
Provide comments to Dwight Moore at
Return to the Tropical Field Ecology Home Page at Emporia State University