Thursday, August 16, 2007

A day in the life of a BV scholar

My name is RAKOTONDRAZAFY Andry Malalan’Ny Aina. I come from Madagascar. I have been working as a biologist since 2001, but most of the fields that I have worked in have focused on terrestrial species. I applied for the scholarship granted by Blue Ventures on June 30th to August 10th, 2007 and participated on many activities in Andavadoaka as volunteer.

I would like to share with you my great experience in Andavadoaka as part of the Blue Ventures team expedition. I really enjoyed the opportunity to have exchanges with other participants who come from different countries.

Many thanks to Blue Ventures who gave me the great opportunity to follow the field courses on marine biology. As a terrestrial biologist, I saw the differences between managing terrestrial and marine protected area. I increased my knowledge about marine research through the many staff lectures concerning the methodology on exploring, surveying and monitoring marine protected area.

I don’t really have words to describe a day in the life whilst I was in Andavadoaka. I think each day I spent there was particular. I would like to sum it up by giving for all the staff, either in London or in Andavadoaka, many thanks.

This kind of scholarship is very important for Malagasy students, researchers, or persons who are interested in marine biology, environment and biodiversity.

For Malagasy students, I encourage them to attend this field course if you want to be initiated into marine biology, diving course and experience many activities relating to the management of marine protected areas.

I thank Blue Ventures for organizing this expedition and for the scholarship which gives Malagasy people the opportunity to take part in, and develop skills in marine science and research.

Andry (Malagasy Scholar 2007)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Night Dive

Despite working in Andavadoaka for over 6 months now and racking up over 100 dives I had never before done a night dive, mainly due to an extreme fear of the mysterious 'unknown' of the sea (useful you might think for a marine biologist!). After 4 expeditions the opportunity finally arose for me to have a go so I set my alarm for 0400 on a chilly August morning and off I went.

Despite the extreme cold it was amazing when we first went down. Although there are less fish than usual and the coral looked a bit dull some of the fish we did see looked really different ...... the Moorish idol goes from yellow to dark green! and we were fortunate enough to see some unusual ones including a large porcupine fish.

Continuing on, my extremely patient buddy Ida (another field scientist with numerous night dives under her belt) soon had me clutching her leg in a less than elegant fashion as I shone my torch to the left where a small eye was shining back at me! First thought was SHARK (hence the clutching of poor Ida's leg) second thought, oh actually its just a ray, then panic set in again it actually IS a shark... Turned out to be a guitar fish about 1.5m long, large and shark like in appearance but with a mouth about the size of a cats and not the most threatening of creatures! Panic over! We were very lucky to see them as they have been heavily fished in Madagascar for their fins.
As the dive went on we also spotted an enormous octopus, several lobsters (hmm tasty...) and a moray eel. Not too shabby for a dive where you can only see about 2m in front of you! Not sure I want to do it again though...

Sophie, Field Scientist.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Research News

Find out all the stories and research news from Andavadoaka in the latest Research update.
In this edition;

Andavadoaka wins prestigious UNDP Equator Prize - Find out about the award and what happened at the ceremony in Germany

BVCO Launch
- Blue Ventures launches
non-profit carbon offsetting programme,
benefiting communities and biodiversity in southern Madagascar

cucumber fisheries - Pioneering sea cucumber aqua-culture trials in Andavadoaka

The NEW Research Update is now available on the Blue Ventures website.