02 February 2006

Divers need to help Earthwatch Scientific Research Teams

If you've been fortunate enough to dive in Southeast Asia, you know the coral reefs there are the most diverse on Earth. They are also the most threatened, with more than 80 percent at risk from coastal development and overfishing. Earthwatch invites divers to help stop the decline of coral reefs and lend a hand to healthier oceans.

On Earthwatch's Thailand's Colorful Coral Reefs project, divers join a research team monitoring coral reefs in the spectacular Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. You not only document diverse creatures of the reef but help determine the effect of destructive fishing practices and other environmental impacts.

Thailand's Colorful Coral Reefs is one of five expeditions offered to qualified divers seeking a rare experience in hands-on science....

Most projects require at least eight dives beyond an open water certification and diving experience in the last year. Thailand's Colorful Coral Reefs, with expedition teams from March to November, is also open to snorkelers who will survey shallower reefs. For more information, http://www.earthwatch.org/expeditions/heiss.html

Other diver expeditions:

Jamaica's Coral Reefs: In April, dive in Jamaica's fantastic Discovery Bay to help document the impact of storms and other environmental impacts on coral growth. Requires an open water certificate plus eight dives, and diving experience in the past year. For more information, go to http://www.earthwatch.org/expeditions/crabbe.html

Sustainable Southern Belize: From May to August, help survey lobsters, queen conchs, corals, or conduct an experiment on coral recovery as part of a local conservation research initiative. Requires open water certification plus eight dives, with diving experience within the past year. For more information, go to http://www.earthwatch.org/conservation/belize.html

Diving World War II Wrecks of Truk Lagoon: In July or November, Explore the final resting place of a Japanese fleet, including more than 50 coral- draped ships and 400 aircraft, to learn about the marine communities they support. Requires open water certification plus dive training to 20 meters and at least 20 dives within the past 3 years. For more information, go to http://www.earthwatch.org/expeditions/jeffery.html

Coral and Coastal Ecology of the Seychelles: In July, dive on one of the most pristine reefs in the Indian Ocean to help design management plans and restoration efforts in other regions. Requires open water certification plus 30 dives and rescue diver certification. Must have dived within the last year and be able to swim 200 meters unaided. For more information, go to http://www.earthwatch.org/expeditions/barnes.html

Whale Sharks of Ningaloo Reef: In April, May, or June, swim with the world's largest fish in Western Australia's pellucid waters to identify individuals and document their behavior. Scuba certification not required, but volunteers must be experienced snorkelers able to dive to 5 meters and swim 200 meters. For more information, go to http://www.earthwatch.org/expeditions/norman.html

For more information call 1-800-776-0188 or http://www.earthwatch.org

Source: www.divenews.com


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