Isla Mar Research Expeditions

More of us are realizing that running a business that positively impacts the people and the world around us, also positively impacts our profits.

In this new Blue Business Spotlight series, we highlight the people and businesses who are doing something good for our blue planet.  

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Blue Business Spotlight Episode 8:  
Isla Mar Research Expeditions

In this episode of Blue Business Spotlight, we are in Rincon, Puerto Rico with Drs. Chelsea and Evan Tuohy, founders of Isla Mar Research Expeditions exploring the natural wonders that makes this island so special.
 

Isla Mar Research Expeditions is training the next generation of scientists

and preserving Puerto Rico's natural resources in the process.  

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An undergraduate field course to the US island of Puerto Rico led Dr.s Chelsea Harms-Tuohy and Evan Tuohy to fall in love, marry, move to Puerto Rico, earn their PhD's in Marine Sciences and Biological Oceanography from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez and found Isla Mar Research Expeditions (Isla Mar).  
 

Dr.s Chelsea Harms-Tuohy (right) and Evan Tuohy (far right) know how to dive into experiential education.

Dr.s Chelsea Harms-Tuohy (right) and Evan Tuohy (far right) know how to dive into experiential education.

Chelsea is a scientific diver, fish biologist, and detail-oriented who loves to instruct field methods in marine science.  

Chelsea is a scientific diver, fish biologist, and detail-oriented who loves to instruct field methods in marine science.  

Evan is the brains and brawn behind the diving and field aspects of Isla Mar.  Underwater, he puts everyone at ease.

Evan is the brains and brawn behind the diving and field aspects of Isla Mar.  Underwater, he puts everyone at ease.

 

Isla Mar helps scientists and educators enhance their coursework with experiential field courses.  With a decade of experience, Dr. Chelsea Harms-Tuohy and Dr. Evan Tuohy offer scientific field course coordination, logistics, and instruction.

Their mission is to equip the next generation of scientists with strong field research techniques so as to better prepare them for a career in science and conservation.
 

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A spotted moray eel slips past a SCUBA diver in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, Rincon, Puerto Rico.

A spotted moray eel slips past a SCUBA diver in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is abundantly rich in valuable natural resources both on land and in sea.

Puerto Rico is abundantly rich in valuable natural resources both on land and in sea.

Their field courses run from two to four weeks and can be tailored to introduce students to Caribbean reef fish identification, invasive lionfish management, coral reef ecology, tropical marine ecology, island biogeography, bird identification, and the effectiveness of marine protected areas, among other subjects.

Locally, Chelsea and Evan team up with environmental groups and scientists to conduct fish and benthic surveys, assist with technical diving and specimen collection, and lead outreach activities.  

Their most recent outreach initiative was a Lionfish Awareness Workshop they led in partnership with local non-profit, Amigos de Tres Palmas (a Sea Grant Puerto Rico initiative).  The workshop was held to teach local businesses about lionfish and how to handle them.  Holding these workshops helps business owners inform locals and tourists about the facts behind lionfish.

The Digitorial below gives a behind-the-scences look at the lionfish workshop with Isla Mar.

It is clear how much Chelsea and Evan love their adopted island of Puerto Rico for all of the natural wonders she has to offer.  Their commitment to preserving the island's natural beauty led them to start Isla Mar Research Expeditions.  And it is the young scientists, trained by Chelsea and Evan, that will continue to protect our blue planet. 

Thank you Chelsea and Evan for inspiring and empowering the next generation of scientists and conservationists!

 

Highlights

  • Visitors from the United States can travel passport-free to Puerto Rico
  • Puerto Rico offers a perfect example of island biogeography with biomes ranging from humid rainforests to endless coastlines to arid desert-like hills and mountains.
  • Opportunities to take in mountain views and explore secret rivers, waterfalls, caves, mangrove tunnels, and coral reefs
  • Experienced field biologists take care of designing, implementing, and leading science-based field courses
 

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Digitorial:

{Behind the scenes of Isla Mar's Lionfish Awareness Workshop}

We caught up with Chelsea and Evan during a two-day Lionfish Workshop they were leading in their newly renovated office space in Rincon, Puerto Rico.  

The welcome sign to Isla Mar Research Expeditions' Rincon, Puerto Rico office and workshop space.

The welcome sign to Isla Mar Research Expeditions' Rincon, Puerto Rico office and workshop space.

They lead seminars for their field courses and community workshops out of their newly renovated office space.

They lead seminars for their field courses and community workshops out of their newly renovated office space.

"Clean waters, clean marinas"

"Clean waters, clean marinas"

Dr. Chelsea Tuohy in her element teaching a lionfish workshop.

Dr. Chelsea Tuohy in her element teaching a lionfish workshop.

"Eat Lionfish" - a joint initiative between Isla Mar and Sea Grant Puerto Rico to educate locals on lionfish and their handling.

"Eat Lionfish" - a joint initiative between Isla Mar and Sea Grant Puerto Rico to educate locals on lionfish and their handling.

Local students investigate their lionfish specimens.

Local students investigate their lionfish specimens.

With the hands of a surgeon, Evan carefully begins to filet the Lionfish.

With the hands of a surgeon, Evan carefully begins to filet the Lionfish.

Day 2 of the Lionfish Workshop, we put our classroom skills to the test in the field.  The local reefs in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve in Rincon are a haven for Lionfish.

Day 2 of the Lionfish Workshop, we put our classroom skills to the test in the field.  The local reefs in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve in Rincon are a haven for Lionfish.

Just one of many adult Lionfish collected.  These invasive species are creating an imbalance in the ecosystem.

Just one of many adult Lionfish collected.  These invasive species are creating an imbalance in the ecosystem.

We removed over 20 Lionfish from the reef that day.

We removed over 20 Lionfish from the reef that day.

Home to the threatened Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmatta), the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve is a protected area aimed at preserving these stands of natural living beauty.

Home to the threatened Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmatta), the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve is a protected area aimed at preserving these stands of natural living beauty.

Lionfish of all life stages can be found in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve.

Lionfish of all life stages can be found in the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve.

Lionfish have a firm, white meat perfect for a fish fry.

Lionfish have a firm, white meat perfect for a fish fry.

Fry lionfish in coconut oil for a Caribbean flavor.

Fry lionfish in coconut oil for a Caribbean flavor.

Lionfish is best enjoyed with friends.  Thanks to our new friends for helping us catch, filet, and eat these invasive lionfish.

Lionfish is best enjoyed with friends.  Thanks to our new friends for helping us catch, filet, and eat these invasive lionfish.

 

Connect with isla mar research expeditions: 

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WEBSITE:  www.islamarexp.com

EMAIL:  islamarexp@gmail.com

FACEBOOK:  IslaMarPR

INSTAGRAM:  @islamarexp

 

 

 
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