January 19, 2012
Choosing Dive Locations Based on Quality of Experience: A Survey
Bastiaan Vermonden is on a mission to collect "quantitative data to properly compare different [dive] destinations." He is doing this in order to help the dive tourism industry become more invested in the health of coral reefs, and less driven by the bottom line.
Toward this goal, Bastiann has put together a survey to begin collecting quantitative data on various attractors in coral reefs. Click here to participate.
You can leave your email with him to stay attuned of his progress with the project.
Posted by Dida at 6:21 PM
May 13, 2010
Divers Needed for Participation in New PFO Study by DAN
Posted as a courtesy. Please do not contact me about this project.-Dida
A new study involving divers with patent foramen ovale (PFO) is under way; the purpose of the study is to establish who is better off: divers who dive with an open PFO or divers who have undergone the closure procedure. DAN (Divers Alert Network) is currently seeking and enrolling divers interested in participating in the study.
Participants must be at least 18 years of age, certified divers with medical clearance to dive and should either have received a PFO diagnosis or undergone a transcatheter PFO closure within the last five years. Qualified participants will complete a diving history questionnaire and provide medical documentation on their PFO diagnosis or closure procedures. Participants can continue diving on their own schedule, though they will be required to maintain a dive log and share data with researchers during the five-year follow-up period.
For additional information or to apply to participate, please contact Petar Denoble via email or by calling (919) 684-2948, ext. 261.
Posted by Dida at 10:51 AM
October 20, 2009
In Development: New Photographic Database of Seven Gill Sharks in San Diego Area
Active REEF and Reef Check diver Mike Bear, along with a group of other interested divers, have initiated a photo database showing the unique "freckles" of the bluntnose sevengill shark in order to provide data to any researcher wishing to monitor the activities of the animal. Sevengills have recently been seen by divers in increasing numbers in the San Diego area of the California coast. I encourage all divers, both recreational and scientific, to contribute. Watch this site in the next few days for more information on the sevengills.
Scientific monitoring of them is a grad school project waiting to happen! -Dida Kutz
contributed by Mike Bear, email
Given the fact that divers in the San Diego area are having increasing numbers of encounters with the Bluntnose Sevengill Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus, also known as the Broadnose Sevengill shark, some of us have decided to begin assembling an informal, photographic database of Sevengill sightings.
There are several reasons for this:
1. We are seeing repeated sightings of this species in the same areas, but without a system to identify individual animals, we have no way of knowing if the same shark is being seen over and over........or, there are multiple sharks in the area. This can best be resolved by comparing photographs which show the unique pattern of dark "freckles" on the backs of each shark, similar to the patterns seen on whale sharks.
2. To our knowledge [please correct us if we are wrong], the marine science community does not appear to be tracking what appears to be a resurgence in the population of this species. While we have done no scientific population studies, because we are not scientists, it would appear that this species is being sighted dramatically more often within the last 2 years than 5-10 years ago. We don't know if it's due to the cessation of the use of gill nets, migration of prey, or just randomness.
3. Some on this list have already generously contributed their photographs to this informal database and we would like to "grow" it, because the more evidence you collect in aggregate form, generally, the higher the accuracy of the data.
Already, by comparing the dark freckling patterns in the photos we already have, side by side, it is quite obvious, even to the non-scientists, that at least two different individual sharks are inhabiting or roaming the area known to San Diego divers as 'Broomtail Reef.' Now, we just need to confirm their sex. We think they are female, as claspers are not visible.
We think that the dark freckling pattern may be as unique as fingerprints on each animal and therefore invaluable in identfiying them.
4. Our purpose here as lay-divers is not to supplant whatever work scientists may [or may not] be doing in the field of Notorynchus cepedianus study. What we can do, however, is assist them by assembling an informal photographic database of local sightings, along with pertinent data, such as time of day, date, conditions, GPS location where possible, etc. and then make this data available to researchers.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE PHOTOS TO THIS INFORMAL DATABASE, HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL GET:
1. A guaranteed watermark inside the body of the photo, in bold letters, identifying you as the photographer and a "All Rights Reserved 2009 /Do Not Copy'" copyright notice, to protect your work. The database is proprietary and not open to the general public.
2. An opportunity to contribute to a database, which, once it expands over the next couple of years, might greatly contribute to the general scientific knowledge of the migration, feeding and mating habits of this species.
Again, the reason for this is, the recent dramatic increase of sightings and encounters being reported by divers, just in the last 24 months. We can't prove it, but we think a resurgence of the numbers of this species is taking place and we'd like to document it.
Requirements for the Photos:
--that they were taken within the last 2 years in the Southern California area; Channel Islands or Catalina are fine.
--they can be either B&W or color, as long as they are good enough quality to show some identifying markings, either the black freckles on the back, or some other distinguishing feature. A photograph of a tail disappearing in the distance doesn't do us much good.
--basic data showing: Date/Time of Day/Location: ideally, with a GPS number, but that's not mandatory and any other data you feel is pertinent, such as what you were doing when the encounter occurred, ie; hunting, taking photographs, etc.
We hope that down the road, the photographic data collected will help marine science professionals, where possible, track individual animals in given areas.
We also hope that those with access to sophisticated pattern recognition software might be able to use it to analyze the 'freckle data' to identify individuals.
Thanks so much in advance!
Mike Bear and some local interested divers in San Diego
'Rapture of the Deep'
Posted by Dida at 1:34 PM
September 28, 2008
CA Whale Disentanglement Team Needs Funds
Not about research diving, but a huge effort to put together a whale disentanglement team in CA. Please help the folks putting this project together with important funding-Dida
Since the fall of 2006 a project that has been at the fore front for Marine Life Studies (MLS) in California is to help create a full functioning disentanglement team for the central coast of California with annual training, a toll free number for people to call when a whale or dolphin is entangled in gear, more gear in various locations along the coast, public outreach, etc. Up to now it just took a lot of time and not much money. Our efforts have been very successful. This spring W.E.T. was created.
We were able to coordinate our efforts with Fluke Foundation – Mary Whitney, Moss Landing Marine Lab - Jim Harvey, Alaska Whale Foundation - Pieter Folkens, UCSC/Long Marine Lab - Dave Casper, and California Academy of Science - Kathi Koontz. Along with Marine Life Studies (MLS) these are the core members of our regional whale disentanglement network. We have adopted the acronym W.E.T (Whale Entanglement Teams) as a shorter, catchier, way to represent what we do. Classroom and hands-on training was given this spring and summer. We have a strong commitment to public outreach and education including annual training, plus there is a new toll free hotline and a variety of printed materials in the pipeline.
Now we have an opportunity to apply for a grant to help fund much needed equipment. But the stipulation of the grant is that we have to come up with 25% matching funds. This is where I desperately need your help. Marine Life Studies (MLS) is looking to add to the cache of tools that will be kept in central California.
I am asking you to please pledge a donation at this time. We need it because as part of the application process MLS has to list the dollar amount that we will match to be even considered for the grant. The donation itself will be tax deductible in 2009 as we are part of a 501(c)3 organization. The pledged donation money would not have to be sent in until 2009 and only upon being awarded the grant.
Right now we need the dollar amount of your pledge that you will donate so MLS can submit it for the grant request. Whatever you can pledge will be greatly appreciated.
MLS has already gotten $2500 in pledges but still need to raise $2000 in pledges by early Monday morning. I know it is a lot to raise in such a short amount of time but thanks to the generosity of my friends, dive buddies, volunteers of MLS, etc. we have raised $2500 since Tuesday.
The deadline for submitting the application is next week so if you could please let me know what you will pledge by Sunday, September 28th so there is time to finish the paperwork. Please only serious pledges as I am going on the faith that you will stand behind the pledge you make and send it to MLS.
Please email pledges to Peggy firstname.lastname@example.org
Once I receive a pledge I will send you back an email to let you know I have received it.
Please write or call me with any questions you may have.
Thank you and the whales will thank you most of all.
Marine Life Studies in Monterey, California
Project of the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation
Email: peggy @ marinelifestudies.org
(please keep in mind I have not had time to update my researcher's blog since December but hope to do that real soon - just not enough hours in the day : )
Posted by Dida at 7:14 PM
August 3, 2007
Certified Divers Only: Oceana's Questionnaire About Value of Ocean Resources
Oceana, a global advocacy organization working to implement policy changes "to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life," has partnered with a Duke University Master's candidate to explore how much actual dollar value scuba divers place on seeing marine life and healthy coral reefs.
The survey consist of 25 short questions, is voluntary and confidential, and could win you a free Oceana sea turtle t-shirt.
Help them out by visiting here to take the survey .
Posted by Dida at 3:04 PM
October 24, 2006
Deep Tech Divers Wanted to Record Evidence of Deep Sea Corals
Photo courtesy Alaska Fisheries Science Center,
National Marine Fisheries Service
Oceana, a global advocacy organization designed, according to Suzanne Garrett, Campaign Project Manager "to inform the dive community of ocean conservation issues and provide opportunities for divers to become involved in ocean policy," is seeking help from technical divers in identifying areas of deep sea corals. These are little understood communities that need protection before becoming destroyed by bottom trawling. Oceana would like you to submit GPS coordinates, depth, and photographic evidence in order for them to share this information with global researchers. Read more here.
Posted by Dida at 3:05 PM
October 23, 2006
Invasive Seaweed Eradication Help Needed in Monterey!
As reported in an earlier entry, help is desperately needed for efforts to monitor and eradicate Undaria pinnatifida in Monterey Bay Harbor. Help out by volunteering, either as a diver or as service support, from 9am-12pm on Nov. 18, 2006 or Dec. 9, 2006 by calling Rita at 831-647-4245 or by emailing her.
Posted by Dida at 7:38 AM
March 4, 2006
Reef Check California Update
I recently asked Craig Shuman, Director of the Reef Check California Program, to submit something to BPD about what's happening with this new program. I've participated in some of the "beta-testing" of the protocol, and have been impressed by how much thought has gone into developing a new program for recreational divers that will yield rich data for scientists. This program demands a lot more from its participants than some other recreational diver surveys, and it will be interesting to see how the program shapes up over the coming years. I truly wish Craig the best of luck with it, because he has clearly devoted a lot of time, thought, and heart to its success. Help support the rocky reefs of California by signing up for some training.
Our new California rocky reef monitoring program is out of the gates and off to a great start. Thanks to the help of our scientific review team and dedicated volunteers, the California survey methodology and species lists have been reviewed and field tested at several locations throughout the central coast. To date, we have been in the water with experts from the California Department of Fish and Game, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Santa Monica Baykeeper, UCLA, UCSB, and UCSC. We have also conducted three orientations in Monterey to introduce local divers to the program. These activities have provided us with valuable feedback to help ensure our scientific and educational objectives are met.
There is still limited space available in the July San Luis Obispo and August, Monterey trainings. Visit our website today to download the protocol and sign up for a training before they fill up! See Reef Check California
February 15, 2006
Invitation to Researchers at Little Cayman Research Center
The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is proud to announce that Caribbean's newest field station, the Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC) fringed by the world-renowned coral reefs of Bloody Bay Marine Park, is open to researchers. The Centre opened to students late last summer. Shallow lagoon, wall, and deep ocean (several thousand meters) habitats are all within swimming distance of the LCRC field station. The coral reefs of Little Cayman are among the best in the Caribbean for research due to the fact that they are isolated from continental and anthropogenic influences and water quality is excellent. In addition to diverse oceanographic settings over relatively short distances, Little Cayman has a well-established marine park system and one of the last spawning aggregations of the Nassau grouper. For more information on the research centre, please visit  Reef Research or contact me or our email@example.com to book a project (group or class).
Dr. Carrie Manfrino, President
Central Caribbean Marine Institute
P.O. Box 1461
Princeton, NJ 08540
Little Cayman Research Centre
North Coast Road
P.O. Box 37
Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
Posted by Dida at 1:10 PM
January 4, 2006
ReefCheck Australia: 6 month Internship Vacancy
Just got word of this. Act now!
Due to a last minute withdrawal of one of our prospective interns Reef Check Australia have a 6 month internship vacancy available to start in Townsville, Queensland Australia ASAP. More information on Reef Check Australia can be found at http://www.reefcheckaustralia.org.
The position is offered on a volunteer basis. Candidate requirements;
Due to a last minute withdrawal of one of our prospective interns Reef Check Australia have a 6 month internship vacancy available to start in Townsville, Queensland Australia ASAP. More information on Reef Check Australia.
The position is offered on a volunteer basis. Candidate requirements;
* Minimum of PADI Dive master certification and professional
* Academic qualifications in Coral reef or reef fish
* Database management skills
* >1 peer reviewed scientific publication
* Experience in writing Fundraising / Grant proposals.
* Teaching/teamwork skills ~ organizing dive surveys for 2006.
* Minimum PADI Rescue Diver certification + 50 hours logged dives.
* Financially independent for the 6 month period.
* Eligible for a 6 month tourist or 12 month working visa in
* Capable of passing an AS2299 dive medical.
* Competence in written and spoken English.
* Dive accident(DAN) and health insurance.
Reef Check Australia is a not for profit organization based in Townsville. We currently train volunteer recreational scuba divers to take part in monitoring more than 40 sites on the GBR. Over the past 4 years we have developed relationships with a large number of stakeholder groups including government agencies, tourism operators and research organizations. The internship position will involve a diverse array of activities from mundane
office functions to organizing and participating in exciting survey trips throughout the GBR. Whilst the intern position is not funded it will provide an excellent opportunity for any person who is starting a career in marine science who wishes to gain experience in this field. You will also gain insight into the workings of an environmental charity and participate in novel research opportunities.
Townsville is the administrative hub for Great Barrier Reef management and research providing interns with ample opportunities to interact with other marine scientists. The successful Reef Check intern will gain in water
surveying experience and a globally recognized Reef check qualification that will enable them to take part in Reef Check monitoring programs around the world.
If you are interested in this opportunity and can be in Townsville by the end of January 2006 please respond with your c.v. toReefCheck by the 23/1/06.
Marketing & Communications Manager
Reef Check Australia
+61 07 47241854 (Tel/Fax)
+61 404 330859 (Mobile)
November 8, 2005
SS Tahoe: Hard Core Research Diving!
(first published 2005-07-18) While killing time on MLK Day at Monterey's Coast Guard Jetty (aka "the Breakwater"), my buddy Barbara and I met a hulk of a man cleaning his scooter. Turns out he he was Martin McClellan, who runs a non-profit organization in Reno that is conducting dives on the SS Tahoe.
The SS Tahoe lies in 400 foot of water, and is Nevada's first underwater historic site. This sort of scientific diving is highly technical -- at the opposiute end of the spectrum from fish watching. A look at New Millennium's research diver standards page is a bit intimidating. Certification requirements include the standard Rescue, DAN O2, and CPR certs, but also also trimix, cave, and DIR fundamentals.
Very cool. Literally. Maybe some day I'll have the cojones myself to do such a dive!
August 9, 2005
Report from the ChanneI Islands, S. Calif: Tending the Eelgrass Garden
(first posted Feb. 2005) After the pounding 2-hour trip across the Channel on the 26-ft "Magic," we anchor at Frenchy's Cove and quickly don scuba gear. The water is so clear we see the gray silty bottom and, yes, even a float at one end of the transect Jessie Altstatt set up 2 years ago. Jessie, Penny Owens, Brian Hall and I are here to check on eelgrass that Jessie and many Santa Barbara Channelkeeper volunteers have replanted here. Once, the bottom of this cove was covered with eelgrass, but a freak boom in white sea urchins in the mid 1980's wiped it out. Seeking to restore the eelgrass bed, Chanelkeeper first set plants here in spring of 2002 and has been returning nearly every month since to check on them.
Eelgrass beds may be important nurseries for fish and other marine
creatures, and in fact are protected by law as Essential Fish Habitat. Eelgrass is not an alga, but is a flowering plant (one of only 4 marine plant species in our region); as you might imagine, pollination is difficult underwater and seeds rarely germinate. Like mint or iris, eelgrass spreads via rhizomes: tough roots from which genetically-identical individual shoots and leaves sprout. Eelgrass may spread to other areas via individual plants torn up by storms, a few of which might land in favorable habitat.
Last year, with the plan to create a new patch of eelgrass, we drove the Magic to Smuggler's Cove on Santa Cruz and (with permission from several agencies including Fish and Game and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary) uprooted 100 plants. Using dive knives, we cut plants with as much rhizome as possible from the dense mat of rhizomes under the sand. We shoved the plants into goody bags before they could float off. The hard work reminded me of how I'd strained my back tearing up mint roots in a home herb garden. We then drove to Frenchy's and replanted them on the next dive, fastening them to the seabed with inverted U's of coathanger (actually, baling wire). Over the years, Channelkeeper volunteers tried different planting patterns: a long row (marked by the transect and floats), open circles, and dense patches. For this new bed, we spaced the plants evenly about a foot apart in a grid.
Now, a year later, we roll off the Magic. Jessie and Penny carry bags of plastic spoons, Brian and I cameras. At 35 ft the bottom is beige silt, covered with brittle stars. Curious pikeblennies peer from empty worm tubes. It's rare to see these Orangethroat Pikeblennies north of Mexican waters, and it was a special treat on this dive. We find 3 lonely eelgrass plants, now sagging under the weight of brittle stars, the only remnant of the hundreds planted along the transect. Brian and I shoot photos and then follow Jessie and Penny toward shallower water.
In 20 ft the replanted eelgrass is flourishing. Some of the denser beds now have several times the 100 individuals originally planted. New patches are springing up nearby. Jessie and Penny count them by placing a spoon next to each plant, then gathering the spoons and arranging them in rows: mathematics is harder under water and every little bit helps! They run out of spoons: too many plants to count exactly. I see a juvenile giant kelpfish in one small clump, with another trying to drive it away. A third juvenile keeps watch from a nearby clump. Brian counts seven sarcastic fringeheads; perhaps objecting to the spoon Penny placed nearby, one bites her thumb and won't let go. Predatory crabs lurk in the shade. Tiny snails cover many blades: they are microcarnivores, cleaning the blades of bryozoans and other life growing on them. The replanted eelgrass is flourishing, and creating a welcome home for a host of young marine creatures.
Channelkeeper is again accepting applications for volunteer divers- email jessie @ sbck.org if you are interested.
Posted by Carl Gwinn at 6:45 AM
June 23, 2005
Caribbean Ecosystem Survey
Gustavo Paredes, a Ph.D candidate at Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California San Diego is looking for AAUS certifed divers to help with an ongoing effort to survey the Caribbean. He says,
We have successfully surveyed the reefs in Belize, Cozumel, Jamaica and Cuba. Our next step is to survey the FKNMS and we are inviting someone to join us to help quantify [sic] the benthic community.
Survey Dates: July 25 -August 19th (2005).
Requirement: AAUS certified (preferably), must be able to identify a wide range of benthic organisms including macro algae, sponges, coral, etc., from the Caribbean region.
Here's the killer part: All expenses are paid!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Posted by Dida at 7:59 PM
April 14, 2005
Coming in July! REEF's Great Annual Fish Count
Here's a great chance to learn about local species and meet other dedicated fish counters. This annual event, which last year spawned 80 separate worldwide afforts, allows any certified recreational diver or snorkeler to participate in fish surveys. If you are an experienced diver or snorkeler, and know your local fish (or are dedicated to doing so), consider organizing a local event. Participation is free.
For more information, including schedules by location, visit the GAFC's official website.
Posted by Dida at 5:23 PM