BIOS research initiatives and education programs were the topic of a recent episode of “Ocean Hour,” the online education series produced by the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). The third episode of the program, which aired on the organization’s Facebook page on October 9, featured an interview with Lakshmi Magon, a 2018 BIOS Bermuda Program intern and a 2020 BIOS Ocean Academy intern.
The idea for the series came about during the COVID-19 lockdown as BUEI educators sought to provide an avenue to showcase the work being done by Bermudians and local organizations in the fields of marine conservation and protection.
“We wanted to inspire the next generation and provide an opportunity for young Bermudians to get involved with the amazing work that is taking place around the island,” said Mark Wynne, financial controller for BUEI and the program’s host.
The first episode aired on June 18 and featured Hannah Horsfield, an education associate at BUEI and an artist who uses plastic that she finds on Bermuda’s beaches to create keychains, art, and jewelry. The second episode aired on July 29 and featured local marine science educator and director of the Waterstart experiential learning program, JP Skinner.
The BIOS episode highlighted a research program that Magon has been involved with since she started as a Bermuda Program intern: a long-term investigation into the natural marine processes and organisms in Devil’s Hole, led by research specialist Rachel Parsons and professor Nick Bates. Located in a closed embayment in Harrington Sound, Devil’s Hole experiences predictable seasonal changes in water chemistry and biology that are distinct from the rest of the sound. As a result, it acts as a “natural laboratory” that lets scientists understand how marine organisms and sediments respond to physical and chemical changes in seawater conditions.
Magon was also able to provide information about Ocean Academy—BIOS’s suite of local educational programs—and, based on her own experiences, speak to the value of participating in the Institute’s internships.
“My internships at BIOS have given me confidence in my own abilities and I’ve left with a toolbox of skills that is much fuller than when I started,” Magon said. “In 2018, getting experience in lab work helped me understand my desire and aptitude for a science communications role. Then, in 2020, my internship confirmed this and taught me technical knowledge that will help me in my future career endeavors.”
The “Ocean Hour” series has proven to be a success, with the first two episodes garnering over two thousand views and positive feedback, as well as requests from other organizations to be a part of the series. Wynne reports that CITV, the government-owned television station, has asked to air all of the episodes, and that organizations have used their episodes with donors to assist with funding opportunities.