This project is going to be used to assess shark and ray population and diversity at the Conflict Islands, through the development of a long-term survey program. This project will study the populations of different species of shark and rays to create a baseline dataset and to assess the effectiveness of our ongoing conservation and education efforts in the area.
You will be assisting our team in deploying BRUV’s (Baited Remote Underwater Video systems) and analyzing the data collected. By counting the number of sharks that swim into the field of view, we can estimate shark abundance and compare the results between sites and across years. Also we will be deploying baited, non lethal drum-lines, as another sampling technique.
There have been sightings of hammerhead sharks as well as whale sharks, and we regularly see juvenile black tip reef sharks around our jetty which would indicate there is a pupping area somewhere in the vicinity which we are hoping to be to identify. Manta’s and white-tailed mangrove rays are some of the larger species of rays that we see on a regular basis as well as the lagoon or blue spotted ray.
This internship is a great opportunity to gain experience in a range of areas and is ideal for anyone studying, or recently finished studying marine science.
In addition, the BRUV data we collect are part of the Global FinPrint project which is the largest standard survey of sharks and rays on the world’s coral reefs. The Global FinPrint analysis will allow us to measure how the abundance and diversity of sharks and rays in Belize compares to reefs in other parts of the world. It will also enable us to determine what features of a coral reef determine how many sharks and rays live on it.
DEPLOYMENT OF BRUV UNITS IN THE FIELD
This involves maintenance of the units, transport by boat, deployment (using a rope and float), measurement of environmental data, and recovery of the units by rope and float. If time permits, BRUVs will be reviewed at the end of each sampling day. You will be trained in shark and stingray species identification.
We will also spend a day in a village doing community awareness where you will have access to local tours, sightseeing activities and possibly get a ride in a traditional outrigger sailing kenu. Please ensure to bring small denominations to buy local produce, souvenirs and gifts to help support these villages.
Expect to smell like bait, expect to spend a lot of time on the water, expect to get a lot of sun, and expect to have alot of fun!!! Your days will be filled with either bating setting and recovering the BRUV or drum-lines or doing data analysis of the footage all ready recorded. This will include detailed species identification. You will have free time to enjoy yourself, go diving and snorkeling or just relax on the islands.
You will get a chance to visit our Turtle Conservation Nursery on you island visit.
During your internship you will be asked to assist the staff and will be given a cleaning and cooking roster.
8am Departure to set lines and Bruvs
11:30 am return
3pm till 5pm data entry and collection or setting more lines
• Stand-up paddleboards
• FREE Diving with our local dive master, for
certified divers (must be arranged the day before)
• PADI diving courses available for anyone wanting
to learn how to dive.