Last week was very special for MCC since six students of the Liger Leadership Academy and their teacher came 4 days on the island to deploy their artificial reef and realize their baseline surveys. We were truly happy and proud to have the Liger Marine Research Team (LMRT) for so long on Koh Seh.
It is always a pleasure to participate in training the new Cambodian conservationist generation and everybody was motivated to help them acquire the last competencies they needed to protect their ocean and future!
On the first day, we have been focusing on starting to build with them both art of the artificial habitat we designed. A concrete artificial reef and a demarcation bamboo-floating cluster attached to it compose
The second day started as the first one finished, with three different plastic workshops with Nina and Louise, reinventing the stairs of the dorm to give a second chance to plastic straws. They also continued to work on their floating cluster by attaching the bamboo together, with the precious advice of our knots teacher, captain Nang, and fraying the rope that will then serve as “a shelter for homeless fishes”, as 8-years-old Fern would say. Finally, on the afternoon, the diving conditions allowed them to start their opening replicate of the baseline survey. It was exciting to supervise them during their first official survey and to testify their amazing progress underwater since the last time we saw them. After this dive, we entered their results in the database that will constitute the reference for their monitoring program.
Monday was the completion day of the bamboo cluster. Our cluster coordinator, Tom, and his two students, Kimseng and Thiny, finished to tight the bamboos together in a triangle shape. The rest of the group frayed different size of ropes to create vertical shades. These clusters will be used to demarcate the artificial reef, which will be deployed to be monitored by the LMRT as a marine biology experiment. Apart from those in-land activities, they also dove twice during the day. They started by realizing the second replicate of their baseline survey, and then they practised underwater photography with their brand new underwater camera, supervised by our vigilant dive instructor, Alex. At the end of the day, after a debriefing meeting with all team, they entered once again the collected data.
Finally, on their last day, after three days of building, fraying, diving and data recording, the moment arrived to deploy the cluster and the structure the LMRT will study for the next months. After conducting the last replicate of their baseline survey, MCC’s deployment team and Liger students went on the big boat and proceeded to the installation of the underwater structure. Everything went perfectly. Their structure is now in place for further studies and the final result looks incredible underwater, but also at the surface.
MCC is extremely proud of the work they accomplished in the past 4 days. As always, they have been dedicated, efficient, enthusiast and it’s been a pleasure and privilege to teach them and work with them during their time on the island. We all are looking forward seeing them next time!