Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Conservation Updates: Cousine Island

Cousine Island Marine Monitoring Update

Cousine island’s marine monitoring programme is an exciting new development within the island conservation plan, of which they recently carried out the first round of surveys earlier this year. The programme aims to monitor the reef ecosystem surrounding Cousine and contribute to the ongoing conservation management of the island. The primary period for monitoring is during the transition between the biannual monsoons (March-May and September-November), where the sea is most calm. 

The conservation team survey several keys areas which include, the abundance and diversity of coral, fish and invertebrate populations, as well as the overall condition of the reef. The health and resilience of the local reef habitat is intrinsically linked to the wider terrestrial ecosystem, as the reef provides shelter and food for a variety of marine organisms including the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle. Additionally, the fish populations around the island play a major role in the breeding success of both the resident and annually visiting seabirds, whilst supporting the local artisanal fishing community. 

A long-term data set therefore, will provide documentation of any potential changes in the marine environment, providing comparisons across the entire Seychelles plateau and allowing Cousine Island to contribute to the wider scientific community of the region.

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