Volunteers assist with several research projects within the iSamangaliso Wetland park, these may include:
Each day is different and research activities may depend on the time of year and weather conditions.
Volunteers learn various skills while in the marine camp, including the use of underwater camera equipment for photographic databases and identification techniques.
If you are a beginner diver you will complete your PADI Open Water training during your first week. Qualified Open Water divers are given the opportunity to complete a PADI Advanced Open Water course, or depending on the length of your stay, choose from a range of dive specialty courses (e.g. Deep Diver, Nitrox, Peak Performance Buoyancy, etc) or the Rescue Diver course.
The project’s primary objective is to monitor the fauna and flora of Sodwana Bay, part of the iSamangaliso Wetland Park which is South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The project collects biodiversity data and monitors species distribution on the reef. This data is used to identify migratory patterns and population densities in the area. Research is also focused on whether environmental conditions affect sighting rates. Turtles, rays, sharks and groupers make up the majority the research, however volunteers also record sightings of endemic, iconic and rarely seen species.
The project also work with the local community to teach them about the importance of protecting their local marine ecosystems.
Research and data collection is labour intensive, so volunteers are an essential part of the project.
Volunteers help to document various types of megafauna, as well as assisting in the collection of basic environmental and behavioral data. Volunteers contribute to Citizen Science ID databases which is a platform used to centralise knowledge about the biodiversity of southern Africa’s fauna and flora.
Volunteers also upload all data and photographs and personal sightings they collect to global databases.
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