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Current Projects

These are some of our top projects currently underway, either undertaken independently or through collaboration with local and international organizations.

January 2022 - August 2025

Nassau grouper by JP Zegarra

Strengthening the recovery of Nassau grouper in Puerto Rico


Funded by NOAA's Endangered Species Act Section 6 program, awarded to the Dept. of Natural & Environmental Resources, Isla Mar has been contracted to carry out the tasks of monitoring the last known Nassau grouper spawning aggregation in Puerto Rico. Other tasks include locating juvenile critical habitat and working with enforcement to educate about closures and species ID. 
PI: Harms-Tuohy
Co-PIs: Tuohy, Scharer, Zayas

April 2022 - April 2023

Image by Karl Callwood

Characterizing the diet of the yellowtail parrotfish with DNA metabarcoding 

Funded by NSF, this project uses the genetic technique of DNA metabarcoding to assess and characterize the gut contents of yellowtail parrotfish. This study will give us a better idea of the exact items that this parrotfish species consumes. This project is in collaboration with the University of the Virgin Islands.
PI: Harms-Tuohy
Co-PI: Schizas

March 2021 - June 2023

Investigating the use of recycled glass sand for coral reef restoration


Sponsored by the local brewery, Medalla, our team is working to establish a sustainable solution to the glass bottle waste issue on the island by turning it into useable sand to incorporate into coral reef restoration. This exciting project will plant 400 coral fragments and observe their growth over the course of one year to test the suitability of using the recycled glass sand for this type of restoration purpose. Read more about it here.
PI: Isla Mar and HJR Reefscaping

June 2019 - December 2022

Image by Jakob Owens

Monitoring and locating nurse shark aggregations in Puerto Rico


Funded by the PR Dept. of Natural and Environmental Resources, this project explores aggregation sites for the locally protected nurse shark. A small population of sharks will be tagged and monitored over two years. This project will set the baseline population estimate for this species in Puerto Rico.
PI: HJR Reefscaping and Isla Mar

new projects in 2022

Review of Hind Bank MCD and Grammanik Bank - for Caribbean Fishery Management Council

Reviewing the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve Studies and Management Plan - for DRNA

Comparing survey methodologies for sampling fish spawning aggregations - Caribbean Fishery Management Council

Past Projects