Since graduating from University, I’ve travelled to almost a dozen countries to swim their oceans, liaise with their local communities and have adventures. I’ve dived with humpback whales in the Cook Islands, surveyed coral reef fish communities off uninhabited tropical islands in Chagos and snorkelled with dugongs in Vanuatu.
My latest adventure has been to assist in establishing a brand new and truly exciting marine conservation NGO; Coral Reef CPR. Our pioneering program, the HARP (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection) Initiative has been underway since January in the Maldives. The Maldives is the most vulnerable tropical country in the world to climate change. It contains the world’s seventh largest reef system, and over 99% of the country is underwater! In January we began setting up permanent monitoring stations to collect baseline data on the health and state of a selection of reefs in two atolls. This effort was in preparation for the impacts from the longest El Niño in history! Returning in April, it was astounding to watch coral’s bleach before my eyes due to the abnormally high water temperatures. Spending up to seven hours a day underwater for a month, we documented the bleaching event, and resultant coral death. But all is not lost; we have set-up experiments to identify ‘super corals’; corals resistant to changes in temperature. When we return to the Maldives in July we will use these ‘super corals’ in nurseries and ultimately transplant them on to damaged reefs to speed up their recovery.
If you want to find out how are rehabilitation and conservation efforts go… follow us on Facebook (coralreefCPR) and visit our website www.coralreefcpr.org
If you want to help us on this adventure; you can donate at www.coralreefcpr.org/donate-now.html
All donations, no matter how small, make a huge difference!