My name is Caroline Daumich and I am currently a second year Marine Biology student at Plymouth University. I am crowdfunding to raise money to allow myself to travel to Indonesia in order to carry out vital research on seagrass habitats as part of my dissertation project, and most importantly to spread awareness on the importance of such unique habitats.
After having lived for most of my life in South East Asia and experiencing the marine life in the various beautiful countries there, I’ve decided to do my dissertation this summer in Sulawesi, Indonesia with the company Operation Wallacea. The money raised will go towards the travel costs (air, sea and land), dive equipment and sampling equipment, along with help of Operation Wallacea and their group of scientists and field assistants to aid with my project. I will be spending 6 weeks on a small island called Hoga, located just off Sulawesi. Around this pristine and remote island is a designated Marine Park – Wakatobi National Park, which is where I will be doing my research on seagrass ecology.
What is seagrass?
Seagrasses are flowering plants found mainly in shallow waters and exist in meadows on either sand or mud substrate seaward of the shoreline. In Indonesia, 12 species have been identified, however many of these seagrass habitats are in threat due to anthropogenic causes such as global warming, nutrient addition, increasing surface sea temperatures and fishing/aquaculture. Particularly in Wakatobi National Park in Hoga, seagrasses are under threat as being utilized as a fisheries resource through direct fishing and the gleaning of invertebrates for subsistence and commercial export. They are also under threat for the cultivation of marine algae to produce agar as this decreases light available for seagrasses to survive.
Seagrasses in Hoga, Indonesia
Photos courtesy of Adam Powell (Operation Wallacea)
Why is seagrass important?
Seagrass habitats are important as they serve as the breeding grounds for many organisms, particularly fish, where the habitat provides protection to young juvenile organisms. In the Wakatobi National Park, seagrass habitats provide shelter to over 180 species of fish. Seagrasses are important to many marine animals and therefore require conservation due to the high levels of present day anthropogenic disturbances that threaten them. Seagrass beds have a high rate of primary production and therefore provide food for a vast majority of marine organisms ranging from epiphytes to larger marine organisms.
My main interests for my proposed title include how seagrass habitats are important in conjunction with coral reef habitats, especially in their role as nursery grounds for juvenile fish species, involving the migration between seagrasses and coral reefs.
My specific title will follow very soon and I will be posting updates often as my research ideas develop.
In addition to crowdfunding, I am also raising money and awareness by running a half marathon on the 19th April 2015 in Plymouth.
Please get behind this project and help to fund some exciting research into seagrass ecology in Indonesia! Thank you for your support!
Seagrasses in Hoga, Indonesia - Photos courtesy of Adam Powell (Operation Wallacea)