Biosphere Expeditions and Six Senses properties are offering two scholarships for Maldivians with dive qualifications and English language skills, to take part in a new coral reef and whale shark study being conducted in September 2011.
Scholarship recipients will be trained in reef and whale shark research techniques and assist scientists from around the world in a study designed to provide data to the Maldivian government so that it can make informed conservation decisions.
The project, based on the liveaboard Carpe Diem cruising the archipelago, will see Biosphere Expeditions working with the Maldives Marine Research Centre (MRC) of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Reef Check and the Marine Conservation Society to study and safeguard the coral reefs and the resident whale shark population.
Biologist Matthias Hammer, Reef Check trainer and Executive Director of Biosphere Expeditions, described the reefs of the Maldives archipelago and its fish population as “extraordinarily diverse and rich. They are also in a relatively pristine state and having both these factors together is quite rare. As less than one per cent of the world’s oceans are protected, it is very important that we monitor and manage areas that are doing well.”
The economy and the well-being of the entire nation, Hammer said, “is largely dependent on a healthy and sustainably-managed marine environment.”
Marine Biologist Kate Wilsonat Six Senses’ property Soneva Fushi in Baa Atoll observed that the scholarships would allow Maldivians “to work alongside and learn from some top marine biologists, enabling them to get hands-on experience of monitoring coral reef ecosystems and whale sharks in the Maldives. It is a fantastic opportunity for keen and enthusiastic divers that want to develop skills in marine surveying, enabling them to continue surveying long after the scholarship ends.”
Six Senses said in a statement that successful scholarship applicants “need to be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the marine environment and [show] that they will use the experience to the benefit of the Maldives’ marine resources, carrying the message to other people and multiplying the effect of their experience.”
The deadline for applications deadline is July 29, with the expedition taking place in September later this year. Applicants must be 18 or older. For more information visit www.biosphere-expeditions.org/scholarships