WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
The aim of the Frontier-Cambodia Reef Conservation Project is to better understand the country’s marine resources, and to provide teaching and training to local island communities to enable them to make informed decisions regarding the management of their coastal ecosystems.
To achieve this mission, you will conduct scientific baseline data surveys of reef areas, including mapping the health of the reefs. We also identify patterns of resource use, and we work with local communities to support environmentally responsible development.
Some of Cambodia’s corals were recently damaged by a bleaching event caused by high sea temperatures. Global warming is believed to be to blame. Your project aims to chart the extent of this damage and to monitor how the reefs are recovering. We hope that this information will help to support management of damaged coral reefs around the world.
The island of Kaoh Smach has never been studied and the local people are keen to be involved in protecting their marine and coastal biodiversity, making this a perfect location for both research and practical conservation activities. You could have the opportunity to work on all sorts of tangible conservation and research, both land-based and marine. As well as marine work, you could be doing bird counts or vegetation surveys, or you might have the chance to join the local community members as they fish around the island. Marine conservation interns are invited to join the project for 2 months minimum.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The project’s work aims to provide local stakeholders, research organisations and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of key marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
To gather the data needed you will be surveying to locate and map the extensive coral reefs and study their various wildlife communities. You will also explore and record the organisms that inhabit the inter-tidal zones and the island's inland areas. To do this you will deploy a wide range of newly learned research skills and scientific techniques including: underwater visual census of reef and commercial fish such as triggerfish and parrotfish, assessment of algal and coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching and damage, and line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrates such as nudibranchs. You will record observations of the feeding habits and behaviour patterns of a range of marine and terrestrial life. You may even get to study the impact of artisanal fishing on the coral reefs or report the effects of global warming on marine communities.
Whilst snorkelling, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from stunning angel fish to the shy porcupine fishsea cucumbers to feathery starfish, spiny urchins to octopus and seahorses. By the end of your internship you will be expert at identifying hundreds of colourful and patterned reef fish as well as being an experienced and competent marine and coastal zone surveyor. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having achieved so much and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this precious marine wilderness. You will return home with the new friends you've made and a wealth of fascinating stories and memories.
Your co- workers will be committed, energetic and dynamic with a mix of ages and experiences, they will all share a passion for travelling in developing countries and working in marine wildlife conservation. Your staff colleagues will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their research field and may have started their careers as Frontier volunteers.