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- Gaynor Rosier
42.0643, 3.0821 View on map
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Joining Kenna Eco Diving Marine Conservation Research Volunteer program is a wonderful way to enjoy Mediterranean diving whilst helping to conserve the marine environment. We love to have the participation of divers who care about protecting marine ecosystems. It gives divers a great insight into Mediterranean coastal habitats and lots of practical underwater fieldwork experience.
I have been carrying out research into the threatened seagrass Posidonia oceanica for many years, and in 2009 I became the voluntary coordinator for the first of 80 SILMAR Project research stations in Cala Montgo, which passes through Posidonia meadows.
The Montgri coast has received protected status, but the seagrass is still being damaged by boat anchoring in this beautiful and popular bay. Many of the indicator species that we survey and measure depend on this important habitat, in which over 700 different species have been observed.
In 2010 I took on responsibility for a second research station, which passes through a cave full of precious red coral, along a beautiful wall and goes down to 19 meters. This transect assesses a very different marine environment and many key species no longer found in Cala Montgo, due to years of impact from seasonal tourism, and provides a complete contrast in terms of ecosystems and a greater challenge for more experienced divers.
Volunteers join us for a few weeks or several months, during the beginning of May to the end of October. The participation fee for Research Dive Volunteers helps towards their accommodation and transport, and other costs associated with carrying out our research. The Research Diving includes tanks and weights, and full induction training to play an active part in our research.
To get the most out of the experience and make a real contribution to the research, we strongly encourage volunteers to come for at least two weeks although this is not mandatory. Arrival/departure dates are flexible so that volunteers can get the cheapest flights into Girona (where volunteers are collected).
See our marine research website for full details.
Although the Silmar Project is Spanish, we work in English to open this experience to international volunteer divers. Volunteers learn about the Silmar research protocol and the key species (see www.marine-life-costa-brava.org) that we are monitoring during their induction training. Then they gain practical in identifying, counting and measuring key species at our underwater research stations and begin recording species data when they are able to identify them reliably.
We do 2 research dives per weekday, and dedicated clean up dives every week - collating the data for Project AWARE. There is always plenty of time for underwater fun, exploration, and underwater photography too!