As part of their degree program in ecology (marine ecosystems modules, coordinated by Prof. Nabila Gaertner-Mazouni), students from the University of French Polynesia enrolled in a 3 years biology licence, benefited from a Reefcheck training program. Reef Check Polynésie, coordinated by our non-profit organization Te mana o te moana, aims at involving motivated volunteers in Reefcheck monitoring program, as coral reef ecosystems are rich and vital for many insular populations and consist of a biodiversity hotspot. The collected data is then sent to Reef Check International and serves as a base both for scientific programs and for better management of marine areas. Students participated to both practical and theorical sessions animated by the marine biologist Matthieu Petit, which aimed at providing to the students all the necessary tools to be able to evaluate coral reefs health status and to participate to the census of many fish and invertebrate species.
They swam through Punaauia’s lagoon to count for butterfly fish, groupers or clams, note for bleaching events and mesure the coral cover. At the end of their training, the students have been certified Reef Check Ecodiver IndoPacifique, an internationally recognized certification. Thanks to this certification, they will be able to stay involved in the polynesian reefcheck network to contribute for a better understanding of coral reefs in French Polynesia.
This original initiative in Polynesia was made possible thanks to a partnership with the University of French Polynesia, our non profit organisation Te mana o te moana, Reef Check France and Reef Check International.