I've probably learnt more things about the administration and complexities of managing a marine reserve in a developing country then actual science.
My personal project on sea urchin settlement has not gone anywhere, principally because I have been unable to capture any larval settlers. As a volunteer here, you are really limited in what you do, because the foundation gets so little funding.
I've learnt a reasonable amount of Spanish but there is still alot of work to do. That's probably the most important thing to me at the moment.
I read about a foreign species of extra large tropical urchin invading the Galapagos islands? They say it orginates over near Puerto Rico and is causing havoc with the native animal by eating all their food. Its basically a parasite urchin.
Have you heard about it? It attaches it self to walls and such like.
Also, I was just present at a talk about how non-breeding individuals of the Nazca Booby, attack and have sex with 20 day old nestlings of the same species. They are sexual predators of the bird world apparently.
Tomorrow, I am off the Espanola and Floreana for 3 days as part of the Ecological Monitoring program at the Foundation. We are going to 9 marine sites, and diving at each site. I'm doing macroinvertebrate surveys along the transects which is something I've never done before.
At each site we need to complete two 50m transects (one at 6m depth and one at 15m) which is a fair amount of work for one hour (the other divers will do a fish survey, sessile invertebrates survey, and take some quadrat photos).
The next trip will be to Fernandina/Isabela then Darwin and Wolf, so essentially the locations where you can see Whale Sharks, Sunfish, Dolphins, Mantas, massive schools of Hammerheads, whales etc. Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely I'll get the chance to go there, but we shall see.
If anyone has questions about the islands I'd be more then happy to try and answer them.