7 SEYCHELLOIS RESEARCHERS FUNDED TO PARTICIPATE IN NEKTON MISSION.
Research Topic: Variability in trophic signatures of zooplankton and food web dynamics within Seychelles waters
Seychelles depends highly on fish, as their main source of protein, and planktons (small microorganisms in the water) happen to play a vital role in fish diet. However, the effect of climate change threaten the plankton communities. In order to ensure good fish quality for consumption the Seychelles Fisheries Authority (SFA) needs to observe how climate change is having an effect on the marine ecosystem and in turn, influence the management plan for sustainable fisheries.
Andrew Souffre Stephanie Marie Clara Belmont
Sheena Talma from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
Research topic: Spatio-temporal abundance and distribution of ichthyoplankton with the Seychelles waters.
The Indian Ocean remains a region of scientific interest as little research has been conducted within its waters and only a handful have investigated zooplankton communities especially the occurrence of fish larvae and eggs throughout the water column. Knowing what types of fish larvae occur at different depths and oceanic regions gives valuable information as to the spawning dynamics of different fish species. This project aims to identify species found at different locations and depths throughout the Seychelles waters. The findings will inform the preliminary species occurrence and spatial distribution of fish larvae in the Seychelles EEZ.
Dr. Jeanne A. Mortimer
Research question: What species of seagrass and marine algae occur in the outer islands of Seychelles? How are the species distributed from island to island? What is the relationship between water depth and patterns of distribution and species composition? What is the maximum depth in which they can survive?
Jennifer Appoo – the Science and Projects Coordinator at the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF).
Research question will combine data on top marine predators from the Seychelles Islands Foundation with the data collected from the Nekton Expedition and will provide a complete picture of the marine predator community around Aldabra down to 500m.
Aldabra’s near-shore marine area is divided into three management zones namely tourism zones, food security zones and conservation zones. This type of zonation strategy within a marine protected area is the first in Seychelles. The research will investigate the abundance, diversity and distribution of marine predators around Aldabra from the shallow to the deep sea and the effectiveness of the zoning plan on these top predators. The results will provide valuable lessons for sustainable fisheries management for Aldabra and this model example can be replicated in other locations in the country through the Marine Spatial Planning process.
Damien Labiche assistant conservation officer from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
Research Topic: Identification of deep-sea shark and rays
Sharks and rays play an important role in the ecosystem as apex predators. Through a highly collaborative process our project aims to identify deep-sea sharks that may be collected on camera footage from ROV’s drop cameras and subs. The occurrence of species in the area will be key to be able to compare data sets with regional and international partners. This is an important undertaking as it will allow for preliminary data to be collected and possible shark species to be identified in the Seychelles, where previous records do not exist.