The students have been back from their break for a week now, and what a busy week it has been! The Directed Research projects are up and running, and longs hours are being spent in the field, collecting data and getting to know the TCI’s marine life a little better. The projects this semester cover the three course foci of marine ecology, marine resource management, and marine socioeconomic policy.

While some students are diving on the reef collecting information on coral health and reef communities, others are catching and tagging sharks, observing eagle ray behaviour, monitoring commercial finfish catches, and gaining insight into the local community’s attitudes towards and utilization of local marine resources, and a lot more besides. Through the Directed Research, students gain valuable experience in what it is like to be a research scientist; field schedules are dictated by the tides, the weather, resource availability and data requirements, meaning that some sessions start long before daybreak while others end long after sunset. This is not research just for the sake of learning, this is the real deal!

As if the research schedule wasn’t enough to keep everybody busy, our second case study lectures have also commenced. The main focus of the this case study, across all three courses, is the use of Marine Protected Areas as a tool in conservation. Lectures have so far covered the ecological and fishery impacts of MPA’s, MPA design, and the importance of stakeholder involvement in the establishment and management of MPA’s.

It’s a busy time at the Center for Marine Resource Studies for sure, but it’s still smiles all round!