Have you ever thought of getting involved in saving the planet. Well we might have something that could be right up your alley! The 1 week Eco Internship with Big Blue Conservation.
Now before starting the conservation dives, you must receive training through our Conservation Skills Development Program (CSDP). You don’t need to have a background in marine biology in order to partake in this fun, interactive and informative course that will give you all the skills and confidence that you need when undertaking the survey dives afterwards. The only prerequisite is an advanced diver certification.
During the CSDP, you will partake in various different lectures which are given in a classroom and followed by a SCUBA dive or a snorkel practical session. Generally, there are two lectures a day (Monday – Friday) lasting between 30 mins – 1 hr. The lectures in general cover four scientific components which reflect on the dive surveying techniques that Big Blue Conservation typically use. The four topics include Fish, Invertebrates, Substrate and Marine Ecology which are incorporated in both the lectures and dives that follow.
Taking the above topics into account the following table gives a very general idea regarding the overall structure of the lectures during the skills development programme:
BSAC Marine Conservation Speciality Diving Course is the first of BSAC's ecological minded courses and the highlight of the expedition for many. As divers, we are in the prime position to help our reefs remain the paradise they are today. To help educate and alert divers of the problems affecting the reefs, Big Blue Conservation has helped construct a new speciality supported by BSAC on Marine conservation. As an observational sport, knowing a little more about what you see underwater and improving your buoyancy skills and air consumption will help influence low-impact diving.
The BSAC Marine Conservation Speciality Diving Course includes a mixture of lectures and dives, on 4 primary topics:
1. Ocean environment - in order to truly understand our aquatic environment, we must first know about the oceans composition and processes as a whole. All our oceans are connected, and one minor change in one ocean can affect the entire ecosystem. After this, you will dive to observe reef zonation and practice identifying coral reef community structure.
2. Coral Reefs - including marine identification dives and night dive. This is the most rewarding section of the course. You will learn a lot more about underwater organism identification, including coral anatomy and biology. After this section, you will complete a fish identification dive, following the ecology and biology of a fish of your choice. Your dives will forever be much more rewarding!
3. State of the reefs - Our oceans are in a rapid state of decline, and as divers we are in the perfect position to do something about it. But first we need to fully understand what is happening.
4. Conservation - including two ecological monitoring, reef restoration and practical conservation dives. Here you will learn what you can do to contribute to conservation and preservation of our aquatic world.
Classroom Session: Diving Session
• Ecological principles
• Buoyancy optimization
• Ocean Environment
• Hard coral biology and life forms
• Hard coral species
• Intro to coral reef ecology & biology
• Inverts and sponges
• Marine plant and algae
• Fish validation
• State of the reefs
• Coral bleaching and Ocean acidification
• Conservation action
• Survey techniques • Buoyancy dives (2x)
• Topographic variation and ecology
• In-water identification
• Trail tests
• Practice surveys
• Night dive
• Coral nursery maintenance
• Recreational dives (weekends only)
You will be assessed regularly throughout the CSDP to examine their ability to identify species underwater and carry out safe conservation practices. Furthermore, a validation exercise is carried out at the end of each science component to assess the accuracy of the data collected during dives. You will be validated in all of the in-water exams before they can begin to conduct survey dives. Pass rates vary between 75-95% so be prepared to learn but whilst still having fun of course!
After the final 2 lectures, you will be trained in underwater surveying and reef rehabilitation and restoration techniques, completing and submitting a reef survey as well as contributing to one of our artificial reefs maintenance.
And this is the completion of your Conservation Skill Development Programme! Once you have completed and passed their CSDP, they now have the necessary skills in order to successfully partake in the survey dives, which essentially is when the real conservation work begins. Therefore, we always encourage participants to try and remain with us until after the CSDP in order to put their new found skills to some good use and to give something back to the reefs!