A new conservation project has been organized to help preserve the marine environment surrounding the islands of the Maldives, off the Southern tip of India. Ordinary travellers from the US will be able to assist by collecting important data on the corals, fish, and marine wildlife under the guidance of a marine scientist who will train and oversee their work. This study, organized by award-winning volunteer organization Biosphere Expeditions, will ensure that informed conservation decisions can be made by the government and non-governmental organizations.
Biosphere Expeditions will be working in collaboration with Reef Check and the Marine Conservation Society, along with a group of international volunteers, to study and safeguard the spectacular coral reefs and the resident whale shark population.
Kathy Gill, Strategy Director from Biosphere Expeditions, said The coral reefs of the Maldives archipelago and the fish populations that live amongst them are extraordinarily diverse and rich. They are also in a relatively pristine state and having both these factors together is quite rare. As only less than one per cent of the world's oceans are protected it is very important that we monitor and manage areas that are doing well.'
People joining the research project will work alongside marine biologists surveying the beautiful coral reefs and whale shark population. Whale sharks can be identified by their gill markings which are unique to each shark, like fingerprints. Photo identification can be used to map where the fish go, how often they are recorded at individual locations and if further protection is needed for specific areas.
The expedition takes place September 10th-16th, 2011 and costs $2570 per person, excluding travel to and from the Maldives. The base for the expedition will be a large, modern boat with air conditioned, ensuite cabins and all modern amenities. Those taking part must be experienced divers and need a minimum of a PADI Open Water certificate, or equivalent.
Biosphere Expeditions inspires and supports critical wildlife conservation around the world. It increases the effort and funding that goes into conservation by providing the opportunity for ordinary people to work and contribute to field research in many locations across the globe. Biosphere Expeditions is committed to protecting endangered species and habitats by forging alliances between scientists and the public. In 2010, Biosphere Expeditions was working in partnership with the United Nations in its 'International Year of Biodiversity' program to increase the public awareness of the importance of conserving our planet's biological diversity.
For more information about Biosphere Expeditions' volunteer conservation work and current projects, visit the website at http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org or contact Stephanie Moreland at firstname.lastname@example.org .