We have waved a very sad farewell to smiling Natalie as she has returned to her homeland for just a bit before travelling to Madagascar continue her love for conservation there. We love and miss you Nat-Nat.
We've been keeping busy with the regular beach cleans, snorkel trips and guided hikes no matter how persistent the rainy season has been but now its time for some new faces and new updates!!
Say hello to our longest volunteer yet who is here to work on her Master's thesis. Read on to find out more about our coral loving guest!
"Hi I’m Chloe,
I’m one of those lucky persons who have always known what I wanted to do in my life. I’ve always been passionate by natural sciences and the amazing biodiversity richness of our planet. I was born in France, far from tropical waters and coral reefs. I’ve spend a part of my childhood near the Mediterranean Sea where I’ve discovered scuba diving and sailing that triggered my fascination for oceans and seas. So far I’ve always been fascinated by marine wildlife, but I would never have known that I would aspire to be a marine biologist.
Last year, after finishing my degree in Biology of Organisms, Populations and Ecosystems in Toulouse, in the south-west of France, I decided to move to Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean; a volcanic island between Madagascar and Mauritius to study for a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Tropical Ecosystems. This decision has changed my life. Not only was I instantly captivated by the wonderful marine wildlife and beautiful tropical waters, I had amazing experiences as my first encounter with a humpback whale and her calf, an engraved memory for ever. In Réunion, I started to practice scuba and free diving, and get even more fascinated by the subaquatic world and sensitivity to marine animals. In addition to my courses at university, my diving and involvement in different associations, such as my outdoor sports student association Grand Air with which we do cleaning dives, I know from now that I want to commit myself to the development of science knowledge and the conservation of island ecosystems.
I’m now in my 2nd year of my master’s and my degree will be validated with a 6 month internship…and here comes my work at Cerf Island in Seychelles not far from my volcanic island. I’ve discovered the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles at a workshop at my University in Réunion where David had presented their work. Naturally, I sent him an e-mail for joining them in their research and conservation projects. I had the opportunity to be welcomed at Cerf Island to work on the brand new coral nursery project of the Cerf Island Conservation Program.
Restoration measures on coral reefs, and especially active actions such as transplantation or nurseries, has drawn much attention in the past decade as it become evident that coral reefs are often unable to recover naturally from anthropogenic stress without manipulation. My work here consists in the construction of two different in-situ nursery designs, a tree and a mini-floating nurseries, and the evaluation of their efficiency, in terms of survival and coral growth. We will also conducted an ecological assessment of the coral reef site intended to be restored. This project is perfect because it fulfils my aspirations as a research scientist as I can elaborate and conduct my own experimental protocols and at the same time offers me the opportunity to develop my skills in field study. And what a dream to conduct a scientific work on a tropical island! My presence here further enables me to raise awareness of the visitors of the island on the need to protect coral reefs and their marine biodiversity with snorkeling trails. I hope that my work here will enable an effective ecological restoration of the Cerf Island’s coral reefs and that people will be more aware of the importance of these essential endangered ecosystems.
The nurseries are now almost ready to be settled underwater and news of our little reared coral colonies will come soon :) !!"