Madagascar Marine Conservation & Diving

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Country: Madagascar,
Type: Environment & Wildlife Conservation,
Organisation: Frontier

Escape to Madagascar – the magical island which is home to some of the world's most spectacular and least explored dive sites. The crystal clear waters host a dazzling array of pristine marine habitats and support a huge diversity and abundance of marine creatures. The vivid multi-coloured corals and luxuriant sea grass beds provide rich feeding grounds for an extraordinary array of colourful reef fish, rays, sea urchins, anemones, octopus and sea turtles.

You will discover and chart extensive areas of pristine coral, record healthy populations of fish and coral cover, and learn to identify a wide range of intertidal creatures from tiny Hermit Crabs to sparkling sea anemones. On shore you will explore the lush mangrove forests; the unique ecosystem which straddles the land and the ocean. You'll learn how artisanal fishing communities live and utilise the rich marine resources. You will discover which groups of marine organisms are being harvested sustainably and which are being over exploited or hunted to extinction.

Your days will be eventful; the work will be challenging, rewarding and fun. Your discoveries will be of huge benefit to the conservation of these fabulous coral reefs and you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped protect these precious natural resources for future generations.

The results from your investigations will supply vital information on the Madagascan coastline to enable the sustainable management of natural resources in the region and the protection of the marine wildlife.

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

An Exotic Island Paradise

165 million years of isolation have created a globally important biodiversity treasure with over 80% of species endemic to this island paradise. But, an increasing population is having a devastating impact, causing deforestation and erosion; the red soil running into the seas has led to the sadly evocative name of "the bleeding island".

The Malagasy government is now working with international conservation and aid agencies to halt this destruction and save the island's invaluable biodiversity, and Frontier volunteers are an integral part of this effort.

Record Marine Biodiversity

Through marine SCUBA and snorkel surveys you will map coral, identify reef fish and invertebrates, study the behaviour of turtles and possibly sight whale sharks. Diving under the supervision of a professional dive officer, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. Your results will determine the biodiversity of these waters and help formulate future management plans.

Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against storm surges caused by cyclones, and an important part of the coastal ecosystem. If you are only able to join the project for 2 or 3 weeks your involvement in the surveys and conservation work will be limited.

Malagasy Culture & Communities

Working alongside the Malagasy people will give you an insight into their extraordinary culture. You may even be introduced to some of their more exotic customs such as the ‘Turning of the Bones' festival. Community work includes environmental education in local schools to explain Frontier's work, and interviewing local fishermen on their catches and opinions with regards to reef health. The data from your investigations will supply vital information on the coastline for the Madagascan National Programme.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

To gather the data needed you will undertake diving surveys and snorkel surveys (weather permitting), mangrove transects and interviews, with one day off each week. If you need dive training we will train you up on the Frontier camp at the start of the project. Your activities will involve locating and mapping the extensive, pristine coral reefs and studying the various communities existing on them.

You'll also explore the luxuriant mangrove forests and record the rich variety of organisms living there and in the other intertidal zones. Whilst diving you will discover dense sea grass beds rich sources of nutrients for the marine communities. You will deploy a wide range of newly learned research skills and scientific techniques including: underwater visual census of reef and commercial fish such as trigger fish and parrot fish, assessment of algal and coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching and damage, and line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrate species such as nudibranchs. You will record observations of the feeding habits and behaviour patterns of a range of marine life. You may even get to study the impact of potentially destructive fishing methods on the corals reefs, study the effects of global warming on marine communities or note any indication of the impact of the marine-curio trade on endangered marine invertebrates.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and conserving nature. Your staff will be a friendly and welcoming group who are highly experienced in their research field and many of whom will have been Frontier volunteers at an earlier stage in their career.

 

Contact Details

Address:

50-52 Rivington Street

London

EC2A 3QP


Telephone 1: 020 7613 2422

Website: http://www.frontier.ac.uk/projects/242/Madagascar-Marine-Conservation-&-Diving

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