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The University of the West Indies – Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory

The University of the West Indies (UWI) owns and manages the largest field research facility, the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory (DBML), under the directorship of the Center for Marine Sciences (CMS). Since its establishment in 1968, the lab has remained committed to supporting research in the biology and geography of coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems.

Through teaching, research, and community engagement, the marine lab carries out the university’s mission. Along with researching different facets of coastal ecosystems, the DBML aspires to better manage the natural resources in Jamaica’s coastal zone by applying the knowledge obtained through research. Over the years, it has proven its dedication to marine resource conservation and sustainable use.


Queen Conch Induced Spawning by Density Manipulation

2020 – 2023

The Queen conch is an important fishery species found throughout the Caribbean. According to recent studies, conch stocks have decreased to a point where successful reproduction may be endangered. Conch are often found in shallow waters and can easily be captured, which has led to overfishing in Jamaica. The close season in Jamaica is based on temperature influenced spawning activity from other Caribbean countries. No research has been done regarding the spawning season in Jamaica. With changing sea surface temperatures, a revision is necessary for the close season.

The purpose of this project was to encourage Strombus gigas (Queen conch) reproduction by determining the minimum density at which their populations were induced to have sexual reproduction within seagrass beds in Discovery Bay, within their known breeding season (April to October). This was achieved by establishing conch containment pens in front of the UWI-DBML dock, within the Discovery Bay Special Fishery Conservation Area.

The two-year project aimed to:
1. Conduct a preliminary survey of the relative conch abundance within Discovery Bay in order to support the breeding experiment.
2. Observe the behaviour of the conch once collected and placed in containment areas based on recommended stocking densities. Their behaviour pattern was monitored before, during, and after their expected breeding season.
3. Verify population changes through abundance surveys for juveniles following the experiment.
4. Determine and document the exact period over which the reproductive activity takes place, and guide a revision of the placement of the annual conch close season in Jamaica.
5. Share the project with other Fish Sanctuaries islandwide for replication.


To learn more about the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, please use the following links:
Website: https://www.mona.uwi.edu/cms/dbml.htm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/discoverybay.marinelab.9/

Project Location: St. Ann

Area of Intervention:
• Conservation of Jamaica’s Natural Environment


All donations are managed by the board of trustees of the C.B. Facey Foundation and the Jamaica Conservation Partners.

All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Friends in the United States will also receive tax-deductible benefits by making a donation through the American Friends of Jamaica website payable to the Friends of The C.B. Facey Foundation.