Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, September 14, 2008

News from the underwater world

This week our marine team had another beautiful encounter with a Hawksbill turtle while doing the snorkel-based transect survey. This is a new transect, which we started in this expedition and its based in the eastern part of the Kisite island, in the Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area (KMMPA). The surveys consist of snorkelling in buddy-pairs along a 400 metre transect. One person functions as an observer looking for turtles 5 metres either side of the transect line whilst the other person acts as a navigator for the observer using visual reference points. Species, number of individuals, activity, habitat and general notes are recorded in an attempt to gather information about globally threatened turtle species and their habitat use in the KMMPA and surrounding areas.

Sally in the snorkel-based transect survey in KMMPA.

The very good news is that we were already able to identify the same turtle feeding on corals on this transect on 3 different days, during this expedition. This emphasises the importance of the coral reef in this protected area. She was named “Squirt”, after the nice turtle in Finding Nemo. We hope to be able to make a turtle catalogue of this area in the next months and gather enough information to help to conserve this ecosystem, as coral reefs are thought to support a third of all living fish species.