Today, the general public are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful impacts to the environment, through publicity surrounding important issues such as the reuse of raw materials, adaptations to climate change, water use and the degradation of ecosystems. As a consequence, it is now more important than ever to put in place adequate management to protect our natural resources. There is a need for reliable scientific data in order to inform decision makers, plan policies and formulate plans to protect the environment.
One method of obtaining scientific data which has become increasingly important over the last few years is the use of Citizen Science, whereby citizens are involved as citizen researchers and data collectors. As a volunteer, you can make a difference by taking part in the Kwanini Foundation’s community-based monitoring activities.
The Kwanini Foundation is about to launch a Citizen Science programme whereby we will be asking divers and snorkelers who visit Pemba to collect data from the surrounding dive sites so we can see what is happening to the coral reefs and the fish in these areas. Corals can tell us a lot about how the environment is doing. They can be long-term indicators of water quality; they can tell us about pollution and damage or they can respond very quickly to environmental changes like sea water temperature rise.
By collecting data regularly, we can hope to put together a picture of what is really happening to the coral reefs around Pemba. On the other hand, fish health and abundance are linked to environmental conditions and they play an important role in the community dynamics of coral reefs. Coral reefs with intact fish populations are therefore integral to healthy reefs. Due to this, we study the abundance, size and distribution of fish populations to understand changes in reef dynamics.
Planning a visit to Pemba?
We will soon be launching our programme at the Manta Resort in northern Pemba. Volunteers who take part in a SCUBA dive or snorkeling activity will be asked to record a 35 meter video transect with a GoPro Camera during their trip.
We have produced various tool kits which provide all you need to know, available on request or by getting in contact to obtain a PDF version!