This summer, Biology and ESI teacher Jay Buckley traveled around the world in 72 days while carefully curating photos for his Instagram, @rtw_in_72_days. The Instagram account features photos of the beautiful wildlife he encountered in the 19 countries he visited. Buckley’s trip was made possible in part due to the Anne-Marie Jenks Excellence in Teaching Award, a $5,000 grant given to a member of the faculty at Marlborough each year who demonstrates a love of learning and a desire for growth in their field.
Buckley certainly did not travel around the world just to relax — he was on a mission of discovery. His goal was to learn how invasive species affect the ocean’s ecosystem and the lives of the residents of those coastal regions. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, invasive species are animals that are not native to their environments.
“I was interviewing people to get a sense of their background information. How did they use the ocean? Do they know what an invasive species is? Do [they] know of any [non native species] that are around here? And if [they] do, how much of an issue are they?” Buckley explained.
Specifically, Buckley studied the Lionfish, an invasive species indigenous to the South Pacific. The fish is now in the Caribbean due to a hurricane that displaced it.
“The problem is that there are no predators for it; no animals have figured out that [the Lionfish] is another source of food.”
The fact that this fish preys on the indigenous Caribbean reef fish also creates environmental issues. The combination of the lack of predation and the over abundance of food for the Lionfish has caused it to be rampant all the way from the Caribbean down to Virginia.
“I am hoping that the ecology of the environment will help start checking [the Lionfish] population a little bit,” Buckley said.
For Buckley, the trip was everything he wished it would be. When asked what his favorite spot of all was, one answer did come to mind.
“Palau was probably my number one. Underwater was breathtaking. Above water I got choked up,” Buckley said.