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Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles
A well-oiled machine

In April, 2013, we blogged from Cousin Island about a very successful series of marine monitoring surveys executed around the island in an effort to ascertain the health of the reef system in the Marine Protected Area. We completed over 100 surveys across the period of 1 week of intensive diving. That week went smoothly and over the following few months a comprehensive report was written regarding the findings of the surveys and the health of the reef.

In the hopes of establishing consistent, biannual monitoring of the coral, fish, and invertebrates of the Marine Protected Area, a similar survey project was undertaken in mid October by a pair of scientific divers present during the April, 2013 project . With a slightly modified set of aims during this iteration, nearly 100 surveys were completed in under a week of diving. The visibility was exceptional but with the clarity came seas that heaved and tossed the divers across 20 meters of survey tape. Fortunately, after completing the project together 6 months ago, the pair worked in harmony like a well oiled underwater coral surveying machine.

Now that the surveys have been completed, the divers are taking to their computers for data analysis and report writing, eager to compile the results from the year for a comparison to previous similar monitoring completed in years past. We will report back to your eager readers soon with an update on the preliminary findings, but for now rest assured that the waters around Cousin Island are being carefully looked after. And don’t worry too much, in addition to the hard work put in by both divers and the helpful boat drivers, they were lucky enough to see a few turtles, both Hawksbill and Green, several sleeping stingrays and a few soaring eagle rays, colorful nudibranchs both large and small, a multitude of guitar sharks, and some wary morays. Another successful period of monitoring, and a happy bunch of ocean-enthusiasts.

Elizabeth Martin