The marine ecology off the coast of Cambodia is seriously threatened by overfishing, illegal dredging and a lack of understanding of marine habitats.
The Liger Marine Research Team was formed, comprising a group of eight young explorers ages 13-18. These young explorers are all highly passionate about marine science, researching, protecting and monitoring the fragile marine environment. They also partnered with Marine Conservation Cambodia to regularly survey the coral, seagrass and mangrove areas along the coastline.
Their efforts have included: participating in beach cleanups; writing a proposal to create a business of algae farming as an alternative livelihood for illegal fishermen; and completing personal projects to determine seaweed growing methods.
One of the key focus areas involved designing artificial reefs out of concrete blocks that allowed for recolonisation of fish and coral, as well as doubling as anti-trawling devices. Students have learned to conduct marine surveys on these artificial reefs. The entire team has become certified scuba divers to be able to conduct extensive underwater research.
The young marine researchers also wrote reports on research findings that will be used by marine conservation groups in Cambodia and the Fisheries Administration of Cambodia. They have created podcasts, and plan to write educational materials about marine ecology for the upcoming generations.
These reports allow the team to improve technical writing skills. Students use statistics knowledge learned in maths to support and analyse their data.
Students gain expertise and confidence in their communication skills by presenting their findings and solutions to marine conservation groups, government officials, fishing communities and public schools, to educate them about their marine ecosystem.
Skills and knowledge gained in this exploration:
High Level Presentation
Networking with marine researchers from around the world