Operation Wallacea is a biodiversity and conservation management research organisation running projects in Indonesia, Honduras, Cuba, South Africa, Madagascar, Romania, Peru, Guyana, and Mexico. The research is carried out in conjunction with academics from many European and North American Universities with over 200 academic staff in the field each survey season.
For my expedition I am going to South Africa for 2 weeks. The first week will be spent at Balule Reserve where the aims will be to:
- To quantify the impact of elephants around artificial and natural waterholes.
- To utilise these data to calculate carrying capacity of reserves for elephants.
- To assist with data collection on the distribution of large herbivores and predators.
- To complete annual surveys of winter bird community structure and density in areas of habitat with differing levels of elephant impact.
The second week will be spent at Sodwana Bay where I will undertake:
Indian Ocean reef ecology course: This consists of lectures and in water practicals by diving. The lectures in Sodwana Bay cover an introduction to coral reef ecosystem (characteristics of a reef, distribution of reefs in east Africa), coral and algal species (growth forms and common species), megafauna (whales, sharks, manta rays), mangrove and seagrass ecology (importance of connective systems, threats to mangroves), economically important invertebrates (lobster fishery, aquarium trade), identification of coral reef fish (main reef fish families), reef survey techniques (quadrats, transects, stereo video), threats to and conservation of reefs (protected marine areas in South Africa and Mozambique).
Whilst Operation Wallacea provides the research data the Operation Wallacea Trust (charity number 1078362) then uses this data to implement conservation management programmes.
I am fundraising to cover the costs of this expedition. In order to raise sufficient funds I will be undertaking specific fundraising activities and any support or help you could offer would be extremely welcome.