This past month of July we were happy to once again welcome back two Professors from the University of Malaya, Dr. Jillian Ooi Lean Sim & Dr. Affendi Yang Amri! They are experts in the field of seagrass and coral reef ecology, respectively.
For 2017, this marked their second visit to Rawa Island to help Orca Scuba establish our long-term conservation projects. During their brief stay we were able to progress forward in establishing our seagrass monitoring project as well as our reef surveillance program. With respect to the seagrass project, the end goal is to restore the seagrass around Rawa Island back to lush healthy meadows.
The end goal of the reef surveillance project is to monitor for bleaching events and to determine whether the coral reefs around Rawa Island are more resilient to bleaching compared to reefs worldwide. Orca Scuba and Rawa Island Resort are both committed to these projects as well as becoming more environmentally friendly.
Orca Scuba is now proud to have agreed to a formal Letter of Collaboration with the University of Malaya and their two Professors for the coming years in order to properly develop these conservation projects!
July Quick Updates:
Orca Scuba Rawa had our FIRST Green Fins Assessment and are now happy to be a part of the Green Fins Family! Green Fins is an initiative started by the United Nations Environmental Program & the Reef-World Foundation to provide a set of sustainable & environmentally friendly standards for dive centers to follow. For more info check out Green Fins
Orca Scuba Rawa proudly held an underwater cleanup dive on our House Reefs, which contributed to our monthly commitment to Project AWARE and their Adopt a Dive Site Program & Dive Against Debris Program. For more info check out Project Aware.
Together with Dr. Affendi we scouted out our House Reefs for an adequate location to establish our own Coral Nursery. We have found a potential spot and are now in the early stages of testing this location.
Together with Dr. Jillian we explored more of the seagrass patches & the cage experiment we had set up. The cage experiment was built to prevent large herbivorous fish from feeding on specific patches. We also ended up finding larger patches of the 2 seagrass species we have here on Rawa, Halophila ovalis & Halodule uninervis.
We installed 3 temperature & light loggers (2 underwater at permanent transects, 1 on land) to start collecting baseline data.
We conducted 3 underwater reef surveys, one at each of our 3 permanent transects (2 on front side of Rawa, 1 on back side of Rawa).
We have been busy recruiting for our Orca-eco team and have some new additions on Rawa and in Singapore. Watch out for an introduction to them all in an upcoming article and in next months newsletter.
You can stay up to date with what the team are doing by liking and following our social media channels and by following our blog and subscribing to our monthly newsletter. We also offer various conservation courses, programs and internships. Contact us on [email protected] for more information.