Chloe is over the moon as her hard work has come to fruition in the form of Coral Nurseries. Read on as she regales us with glee her plans for these rescued fragments.
"Our coral nurseries are now underwater and our colonies are doing great! It took us almost 20hrs of work over 5 days for the coral collection and the nursery set-up. The coral collection and attachment on the structures were done by snorkeling and the nurseries were then attached to the cement block at 10m by diving. I am very proud of the work we've conducted, and I thank so much everyone that helped with the nurseries without who it wouldn’t have been possible, and especially to Aisha and Richard who were here to support Savi and me on our long sessions of field work! That was great work and thanks to everyone’s patience and commitment, we did it! We now have 444 small coral colonies of Acropora, Porites and Stylophora peacefully growing on their nurseries. I now have to measure their growth from digital pictures taken with an underwater camera. Pictures of side and top views of each colony are then analyzed on computer with a software enabling to estimate the height, length and width. This work is going to be conducted every month to calculate their growth rate. In order to have scaled photographs of the colonies, Savi, Richard and I have constructed a stick that we can fix on the camera underwater case holding a ruler for the scale which I have to say I’m very proud of! And who would have known, the Acropora and Porites corals have already begun to grow over the cable ties they are fixed to! How exciting it is knowing that it’s been only 2 weeks after being cut and settled in the nurseries! Furthermore, the Porites have already healed from their cut section and no longer show white scars! This means that they have handled the stress of the experiment manipulation quite well and is a positive omen for their future. We try keep our nurseries as clean as possible by cleaning them at LEAST twice a week with toothbrushes as the sedimentation and fouling rate are quite high. We intend to perform environmental monitoring of the temperature, light intensity, sedimentation and hydrodynamics in order to know more precisely in what kind of environment the corals are growing in. Next month, I hope we will be able to begin our reef ecological assessment with transects and quadrats enabling to estimate the different benthic category as hard coral cover, rubble, sand, rock, etc. The quadrat method will generate more detailed information, such as the genus or even species level of coral and algae. So we’ll soon be able to tell you more about the reef were intend to restore!
To be continued … "
A massive round of applause to all parties involved and here's to all of those little nubbins silently growing and making us proud conservationist parents.
We've been through some stunning sunny days and rather ratchet rainy and windy weather but we've never stopped! Aisha and Richard talk about what they've been up to the last few weeks; read on!
"We’ve been here for two-three weeks now and we have seen the evolution of Chloe’s nurseries. We’ve helped to construct and install the nurseries and we continue to help with the monitoring phases of this coral restoration project part 1.
Learning about the corals and their ecosystem during the snorkeling trails is a big part of our volunteering program. We’ve been shown lots of coral presentations and who knew we had so many types?! Learning them was difficult for us at first because we always confused the names but with practice and help we’re memorizing them slowly. Savi takes us in the water to identify them to make it easier, and now we can recognize them by their Family, Genus, and life forms. As If there wasn’t enough to learn, we’ve been doing the same for the fish, algae and invertebrates! Now that the sun is out, the water is becoming crystal clear again which makes the learning and identification much easier (not to mention more fun). It’s been quite hot these past few days which means really interested and happy clients for snorkeling and hiking. Last week we had two groups of clients who went snorkeling at Moyenne Island. The reef there is also quite a site to see as we are reminded that Coral Reefs are the most diverse and (and in our opinion most beautiful) of all marine habitats.
We’ve also been creating a new snorkeling trail! Cement blocks made with limestone rubble found on the beaches were placed near another stretch of reef to demarcate and show guests the way to the biodiversity hotspots. Just a few more blocks and buoys to go and this trail will be open for business.
There’s more! As part of the hiking trail, we’ve been keeping it clean and trimmed so hiker enthusiasts have a clear path to follow. To help with guiding, we’ve cut and varnished some signs in animal forms out of plywood to keep the hiker updated on distance traveled. Upon request, we guide guests up the trail to the other side of Cerf as we show the different plants and animals like the cinnamon, breadfruit and coco plum trees to the mangrove crabs, geckos and herons.
And to top it all off, every morning we’ve been beach cleaning to protect animals and their environment by removing all the harmful plastics and which are sometimes ingested by the wildlife. Although we’ve never heard a thank you from the birds, turtles and fish, I’m sure they appreciate our efforts just the same.
It's Aisha's last week with us and we hope to keep it as jam packed, entertaining and most importantly educational as her work experience comes to a close. Here's what she has to say...
“How time flies by so fast, already I’m on my last week and I had the best experience ever. Everyone is so friendly and I felt really welcome not only by the CICP team but also the local people working on Cerf Island.
Now when I’m done, its back to school to continue my studies. I will surely miss everyone here and want to say a big thank you for the amazing experience; I loved it and hope to come back again soon.“
Thank you Aisha, Richard and Chloe for all your efforts!
In the last week we have had two sets of helping hands arrive on set. In the quest for conservation we have a local student from Mahe as well as an another ex-pat from France. Read on to meet these smiling individuals who have decided that marine conservation is the way to go.
"Hey, My name is Aishah and I’m 17 years old. I’m in my 2nd year at the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) on my work base attachment with the Cerf Island Conservation Project (CICP) for 1 month. The Seychelles maritime academy is a training centre for young students (age17+) where you learn more about the marine industry itself. There are 3 advance course available :
For my second work base attachment which was in November 2015 I was at the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCSS) wildlife centre at the Banyan Tree working on sea turtle and terrapins. I enjoyed my attachment there so much I wanted another one with MCSS and found the CICP. I’ve gained so much knowledge about coral reefs, and it’s only been one week! Everyone is so friendly and the environment is so warm and refreshing.
So far we have been really busy working on and installing the coral nurseries. We’ve been in the water every day and I’ve already taken my first clients on the hiking path; everything so far has turned out great! :)"
Happy to have you aboard for the month Aisha!
Now meet Richard!
"I am Richard, I am 23 years old and I live in Toulouse, France. I am student in biology of organisms, populations and environment.
Roller skating, scuba diving and others outdoor activities are my hobbies. I have always been fascinated by nature and animals, passionate about reptiles (especially snakes) and marines turtles. I like to travel a lot, particularly to tropical countries like Australia and Thailand.
I decided to do a gap year to travel and work on different projects about environment conservation and protection. When I was in Thailand, I worked on organic farms to learn about permaculture whereas now I am in Seychelles because I want to actively participate in marine life protection.
Coral reef protection is a very important step to conserving the marine fauna. So after achieving my Open Water certification, I went on Cerf Island to help MCSS and the CICP in their conservation project and to learn more about marine biology.
I hope to learn as much as I can regarding reefs and all the effective conservation efforts I can apply and teach others as I strive to become a marine biologist."
Welcome to the Cerf Island Richard and Aisha,
Here's to an exciting and productive few weeks together.