We’ve had a busy week on our manta expedition and visiting local conservation projects such as the coral rehabilitation efforts on Hatamin Island. Today we are back in the classroom to review our progress at the mid-point of MIP-2016. Our tasks today: review our personal development goals, finish this week’s video diary, practice manta briefings, and upload our manta survey data.

First thing this morning was to review our personal development goals. Each of the interns discussed how far they are in reaching the goals they set at the start of the program, and how MantaWatch can help to achieve any outstanding goals. At this point in the program we have all achieved some of our goals, such as becoming certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water diver, and experiencing new things from diving in currents, to meeting manta rays. And not only diving skills, the interns have gained many experiences including collaborating with the Komodo National Park Authority, collecting trash with the community, and learning from the tourism industry. However, there is always room for improvement as the program continues.

The interns review their personal development goals

The interns review their personal development goals

Another task today is to report our manta encounters! This task is the output of our manta expedition. We report our encounters on MantaWatch Online, and fill in valuable information about the dive site condition and the manta ID’s we collect. As we know, the availability of information is a crucial part in supporting conservation efforts.

Manta ID photos help us recognize individuals and support conservation approaches.

Manta ID photos help us recognize individuals and support conservation approaches.

Finally today we must prepare the week two video diary. This week, our research activity on the boat will be the highlight. We want to share how we practice what we learned in class about how to be a scientific diver and how to conduct manta surveys. While some of us work hard on movie making, the rest are practicing our manta briefing. The manta briefing is one of the tools through which we can spread awareness about manta conservation.

In the final weeks we will learn more about collaboration, as the interns are expected to grasp the understanding of many aspects regarding manta ray conservation. We will learn that to achieve a conservation goal, we must consider different perspectives such as ecological, social, and economic values, and integrate these to achieve a sustainable outcome.

Muhammad Ichsan

Muhammad Ichsan

Ichsan earned his M.Sc. Conservation Biology from the University of Queensland, Australia and B.Sc. Marine Science from the University of Padjadjaran (UNPAD), Indonesia. Drawing on the experiences he gained during MIP-2012, Ichsan successfully submitted his undergraduate thesis on the environmental factors influencing the temporal distribution of manta rays in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. He founded […]