My name is Cynthia, 23 years old and I’m French! I’m enrolled in an International Master’s degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC+), and I joined CICP for a credited internship, for the end of my first year. I don’t have a broad background in Marine Biology, as I’ve only started last September. It was kind of a dream since I was young and I finally took the leap, which is so far the best decision I’ve ever made!
I didn’t do any internships, or volunteering program before now. Although I traveled a lot around the world, first with my family, then with friends, and now through my master’s degree. I was studying in the Algarve, in Portugal for the last 7 months and will continue in Ireland next September! But then, I had the opportunity to do an internship. So I was wondering first “what would you like to study on the long-term, after the master?” My answer was either cetaceans, or coral reefs. Then, I decided I’d rather go a bit away from Europe. I got to know the CICP through the MCSS, which is a partner of my master program. My choice was set!
I just arrived here on Cerf Island and started to get trained on coral identification with Savi. He took me snorkeling onto one of the reefs for the first time yesterday and I already found it amazing. A lot of beautiful corals and their colorful reef fish wondering around. If you’re lucky you can even see cute squids, waiting for you to take a picture of them! But corals are sensitive organisms, and suffered a lot from last year’s bleaching event, and one can notice that very easily on the reef… It’s sad, but then it’s also another motivation to try and get to know more, to protect them better and raise awareness.
When Savi went through the first part of the coral identification training, I was a bit scared by all those genus-barbaric names! How was I supposed to remember those and recognize them underwater?! Even as a biologist, those names are never easy to remember. But the next day, after working a bit on my own identification support, I could actually recognize them quite nicely (not perfectly yet of course!). My little favorites so far are Pocillopora, Acropora and Physogyra! But it will probably change as I’ll learn to get more of them! I now just started using a software which will allow me to help monitoring the growth of the baby corals that Savi settled on artificial frames.
Tomorrow two other interns from my program will arrive and stay on Cerf for two months as well. That’s a big army to learn about the reefs! Follow us and you’ll get to know them too and follow our adventures within the CICP! And know how the baby corals are doing of course!
Just a few farewell words from our Seychelles Maritime Academy work attachment student Farah.
"My two months here at the Cerf Island Conservation Program has come to end, I had such a blast while working with everyone here. I’ve learned so much about the reefs, conservation efforts, and also more coral identification and other marine life. Now that I have learned corals from over 50 genera, I don’t think I have a favorite anymore, I like them all! I’ve also learned to recognize reef fish such as parrot fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, rabbit fish and their important roles to a reef’s ecosystem. Now that I got the chance to experience working in marine conservation; I think that it would be something I’d like to pursue as a career. Hopefully I can visit the program again soon!"
It was a pleasure to have you!