As part of a CI-organized Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) off the northeastern coast of Madagascar, an international team of marine scientists has spent the past three weeks exploring ecosystems, documenting species – and reporting back to us about their experiences. This is the final post from the expedition – read all of the team’s previous posts from the field here.
This is the end. At 5 a.m. I see the port of Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) ahead, and I know that in a couple of hours we will be walking on land again.
The trip has been a great endeavour which has challenged us in several ways – through the lack of fresh water onboard, the strong winds and high waves and the difficulty of communicating our work to the small villages along this amazing piece of Madagascar’s coastline. We are all sunburned and tired, but also in awe of the beautiful areas we’ve sampled and the pristine conditions of the coral and seagrass habitats.
This has been an great group of scientists and friends to share this time at sea with – everyone has been so enthusiastic and focused through three intense weeks onboard the Antsiva, and everyone has spent any spare time of the last days discussing and compiling our preliminary findings. We are highly anticipating finding out just how many new species we have found in the region.
As we slowly enter the Bay of Diego, we see a manta ray jumping out of the water, one, two, three times, a last look at the diverse charismatic fauna inhabiting these waters.
As the Antsiva docks in the Diego harbour, we pack our gear and make arrangements to produce the report that will summarise the expedition’s findings. This report will provide recommendations to management authorities in order to protect marine resources and ensure that Madagascar’s ecosystems and human communities can adapt to climate change.
Giuseppe Di Carlo is the manager of CI’s Marine Climate Change program. Stay tuned in the coming months for more updates from the Madagascar RAP team as they compile and analyze the data collected on the expedition – and determine exactly what they’ve found.