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Western Ecology Tour: Get W.E.T for Science

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They say that if you can dive in the UK you can dive anywhere, but what does this say for the British Coastline and Diving? That’s a question that’s going to be answered by a team of avid and passionate divers and Biologists from across the UK during the upcoming summer of 2021.

The Expedition is being led by Andy Clark (Andy The Northern Diver) of @fancy_a_brew_podcast, along with a team consisting of photographers, camera operators and biologists. They are embarking on a British diving expedition known as the Western Ecology Tour (W.E.T). The aim of the expedition is to travel to the northern reaches of Scotland and dive at Loch Carron & Loch Duich and then travel South along the West Coast to the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, and finally onto Pembrokeshire, diving the best the west has to offer.

The expedition is looking to live life in a minimalist way, camping and cooking out in the open air.

The teams aim is not just to dive sites, but to tackle conservation issues and shed light on projects up and down the UK, they have three projects which the trip will be focusing on. These projects include the Shark & Skate Citizen Science Scotland, Project Seagrass, and Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC). The team will be accompanied with a Biologist or expert that works on each of the 3 projects to aid and guide the team, but also help shed extra light on the critical conservation work being carried out.

The team are also aiming to gain media coverage with the support of sponsors, and will include a series of live blogs for Scubaverse. This will be used to promote the unique range of life that lives around the UK, and advertise the projects and charities that the team will be working with.

 Shark & Skate Citizen Science Scotland

The Shark & Skate Citizen Science Scotland Project is headed up by Dr Lauren Smith and is set up to obtain vital information about various Shark and Ray species found in Scottish waters. There has recently been a discovery of an Egg laying site for the critically endangered Flapper Skate, this Skate species was once known as the Common Skate, but their numbers have been reduced so much that they are now classed as a Critically Endangered species due to the disturbance of their breeding grounds. Dr Lauren Smith and her colleagues are working to have the site listed as an official Marine Protected Area, this would help reduce disturbance and damage to the breeding site and eggs as fishing activities would be prohibited from within the site.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sharkandskatecitizensciencescotland

Project Seagrass

The Project Seagrass element is led by Jake Davies, his work is focused on the conservation of Seagrass Ecosystems by informing the local communities to the presence of the Seagrass meadows that hug the Welsh Coastline, and educating the public to the vast importance that this habitat plays in our Oceans health. Seagrass is the only true plant in our oceans, this habitat is home to a whole host of animals from Rays, Seals and Seahorses and is vitally important in our fight against Climate Change.

www.projectseagrass.org

Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC)

NARC is supported by Charlie Young, and it is an award-winning Charity that has been fighting to keep the British Coastline litter free since 2005, and was the UK’s first underwater clean up group. NARC consist of volunteer divers who devote their own time and resources to carry out these clean-up operations and to raise awareness of the impacts of pollution on local wildlife. Divers involved in the project are armed with scissors, bags and trays in order to collect as much rubbish as they can, the team have found a huge range of rubbish from the seabed which varies from mobile phones, bikes, chairs, skateboards and a kitchen sink! The most abundant rubbish however is that of discarded fishing gear such as nets, fishing line and lobster pots, anything collected is then cleaned and recycled wherever possible.

www.narcdiving.org.uk

The Expedition is hoping to raise over £6,000 using a mix of corporate sponsorship and crowd funding using their JustGiving page which can be found here: www.justgiving.com/

Donations are being used for 2 areas of the expedition, the first is a hope that £2000 per project be raised, with the money going towards equipment and the running of their operations one of which is for supplies and costs such as site entry and fuel, and the other being. Any further funds would be to supplement the overall cost of the expedition for such things as fuel, campsite entry and air fills.

If you’d like any further information and to keep up to date with Expedition Wester Ecology Tour check out the webpage https://andythenortherndiver.com/expedition-wet/

Donovan is a Divemaster who currently works as a Shark Diver at Blue Planet Aquarium based in Ellesmere Port. Donovan’s passion lies with Elasmobranch’s (Sharks & Rays) and this passion has led him to work in South Africa with White Sharks for a short period. He also believes that education through exposure is the best way to re-educate people about Sharks. Follow Donovan at www.instagram.com/donovans_reefs

Marine Life & Conservation

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Andy Forster of Dive Project Cornwall

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Gemma and Ian chat to Andy Forster.  Andy is the Project Director at Dive Project Cornwall.  He tells us about his own passion for diving as well as how Dive Project Cornwall is going to educate and inspire many youngsters over the coming year.

Have a listen here:

Find out more at www.diveprojectcornwall.co.uk


Find more podcast episodes and information at the new www.thebigscuba.com  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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Marine Life & Conservation

Coral Spawning Predictions for Curacao and the Southern Caribbean

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The Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI) has released its 2022 annual coral spawning prediction calendar for Curacao and the south Caribbean.  This calendar plays a central role in studying the reproductive biology of Caribbean corals and guiding coral restoration efforts for the southern Dutch Caribbean islands.

Based on these predictions, researchers are able to harvest coral gametes that are reared to larvae that can be used to cultivate future coral colonies.

Coral spawning is a miraculous event where entire coral colonies, prompted by the lunar cycle, sunset time and water temperature, release gametes (eggs and sperm) simultaneously. Gametes of one species fertilize another to become fertilized embryos that settle on the ocean floor after days to weeks.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!

As divers, being able to witness a spawning event is a unique opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking scene as the entire reef becomes engulfed in a blizzard of future corals.

Each year, the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI) releases a calendar to predict when each species of coral is expected to spawn. During these events, researchers from CARMABI, in collaboration with Reef Renewal Bonaire and Reef Renewal Curaçao, also collect gametes to be used to grow new corals in a laboratory setting.

Photo credit = CARMABI

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Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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