Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Justin's internship so far..

My internship with MCSS

Hey, my name is Justin and I am a master student in marine biology doing my thesis research in the Seychelles. Here I am studying the hatching success of the Hawksbill sea turtles in the South of Mahé island together with the staff of MCSS. I have been here now for a month and I must say that, even though I am here to work, every day feels like a holiday. 
watching out for a weak hatchling
Watching turtles nest on the beaches every couple of days, giant tortoises at my backdoor, all kinds of colourful birds flying around. Life in paradise..

Not every day is a holiday of course, because I am here on an internship studying the hatching success of hawksbill sea turtles, so my job here is to do beach patrols every other day to try and find tracks of nesting sea turtles, and by doing this, identifying nest locations. Furthermore, I have to dig up hatched nests to see what amount of young turtles made it out alive. Then I will try to link this to several environmental factors to find out what is actually the cause of a good or bad hatching success.

Other than that I always try to help out at the centre by feeding the tortoises, cleaning the terrapin tanks and cleaning up when necessary. i already learnt a lot regarding the local wildlife and  I hope I will be able to learn much more in the coming months!

Samantha's internship so far

My name is Samantha Stott, I am 22 years old and currently doing my master thesis with MCSS. The aim of my project is to assess potential Hawksbill nesting sites using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Mahé.
learning to handle the drone!

 I decided to do this project with MCSS as they have a long history of working with marine turtles. It has now been a month since I have started my project, although it did not start well due to the rainy seasons which meant we were not able to fly the drone we are now on target to finishing all the data collection thanks to the nice warm sunshine.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, I go on patrol looking for new nests and turtle tracks, some patrols have been very wet and others very hot, but it is always very rewarding when we get to see a turtle come up the beach and lay its eggs. In fact, I was lucky enough to see a turtle come up the beach and lay its eggs the second time I went patrolling. This was an amazing experience to be able get close and be able to admire such a beautiful species. However, do not underestimate how strong these beautiful turtles are…. During one of the patrols we had to restrain a Hawksbill turtle to measure its carapace and take pictures of its head for identification purposes…
Trying to get photo ID shots

 However, this never happened as it was just too strong to restrain, leaving me with scratches all over my feet and ankles (No hard feelings still love them).

Hawksbill turtle hatchling

As time goes by, I am getting to know more about the MCSS team and the surrounding environment. I have had the opportunity to try a lot of the local food including breadfruit which is very nice even if my pallet was a bit confused as it tasted sweet like a banana but had the texture of a potato. I have not been able to get around to trying the fruit bat though… And probably won’t ever.

It is a great opportunity to be able to do what I love in such a beautiful environment. I would like to say a special thank you to Vanessa for all her guidance and support during my stay on this beautiful island.