Seascape Mapping & Monitoring
Understanding spatial and temporal patterns in marine habitats, human activities and environmental characteristics is the foundation for many of our activities
An important foundation for effective marine conservation and scientific marine research and monitoring is a thorough understanding of marine habitats and environmental characteristics of an area. Well defined marine habitat maps and human use areas, and environmental information such as sea temperature, current flows, and weather conditions, contribute to establishing the necessary baseline habitat maps and marine environmental monitoring infrastructure that facilitate scientific research, conservation and marine spatial planning efforts.
In collaboration with scientists from Universidad Lurio, and with the support of the Eileen Getty Foundation, remote sensing techniques, geographic information systems and ground truthing by conducting underwater surveys all contribute to the mapping of benthic habitats including coral reefs, seagrass beds, mudflats and other areas around our island sites. As well as providing important baseline information for a site, such information contributes to global efforts to map coral reefs such as those by the Allen Coral Atlas which provide important information for scientists, academics, policymakers, and protected area managers.
Marine Spatial Planning
Marine Spatial Planning is a tool to help allocate human activities to marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives that have been defined through consultation with local communities, government agencies and other stakeholders. It enables a more systematic, rational means for defining use areas to balance economic development, social and cultural needs, and the protection of the environment. Our longer term aims around sites such as Vamizi Island, are to contribute to the mapping of multiple-use areas, whereby different zones are allocated to activities, such as small-scale fisheries, recreational diving and conservation.
Environmental marine sensor networks and weather stations provide valuable information on variation in the environmental and climate characteristics of each of our sites.
Weather stations such as those deployed on Vamizi Island by France Meteo provide information on temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall and humidity and are linked through satellite to France Meteo’s network of stations across the Western Indian Ocean region. They provide real-time data that are available online contributing to regional and global datasets, as well as providing valuable local information that is used by marine scientists working in the region.
Marine sensors such as water temperature thermometers, current meters, salinity and turbidity sensors similarly provide important information on waters around our sites that build a long-term picture of the marine environment.
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See what we're doing in all our different fields
Using the latest tracking technology we study the movements, habitat use and behaviours of apex predators, including sharks and giant trevally, to inform conservation and the establishment & management of marine protected areas.
Working in close partnership with coastal communities to build capacity, develop sustainable livelihoods, promote marine conservation education and train & employ Marine Community & Conservation Rangers.
Coral Reef Diversity
With some of our sites hosting among the highest coral diversity outside the Coral Triangle, coral reef studies are a major focus of our work including documenting & monitoring coral, fish & invertebrate health, diversity & abundance.
Fisheries & Food Security
Many millions of people depend directly on marine resources in East Africa. Our work contributes to fisheries monitoring, promoting sustainable fishing practices & assessing the nutritional value of fish to people as reef ecosystems change.
Listening in on ocean soundscapes using underwater microphones enables us to monitor the health of coral reef ecosystems, study the behaviour of iconic marine animals and assess the impacts of noise pollution.
Five species of sea turtles occur in the Western Indian Ocean, with our sites supporting important nesting areas for four of these. Our sea turtle nest monitoring projects on Mnemba and Vamizi Islands are amongst the longest continuously running programs in East Africa.
Islands have high conservation value for threatened & endemic plants & animals. Our work focuses on plants, birds, reptiles & mammals, including a unique sub-species of the Samango monkey and the Endangered Ader’s duiker.
Whales and Dolphins
Numerous whale & dolphin species occur at out sites in East Africa with our focus on regular surveys and monitoring & research of resident and migrating populations, including Humpback Whales, using passive acoustic monitoring (underwater microphones).