Science Training and Reef Monitoring at Barefoot Conservation

The "Science Training Program" (STP) at Barefoot Conservation offers volunteers the opportunity to learn basic coral reef biology and ecology as well as identification of some of the amazing coral, invertebrate, fish and plant species that are commonly spotted throughout Raja Ampat and coral reef across the Indo- Pacific.

Whether you’re a budding marine biologist, avid diver or just someone who wants to try something new the science program caters to all with an interest in marine ecosystems. Volunteers having participated in the science program often find that their whole diving experience is taken to another level of enjoyment owing to their new understanding and ability to identify what they are seeing.

The science program consists of two week course covering a series of topics through classroom style lessons were volunteers are given the tools they need to identify reef species. Following on from “land lessons” are a number of “water lessons” were volunteers and trained members of staff dive together testing and refining their newly acquired identification skills, discussing any difficulties and celebrating successes following the dive.

Having completed the science program volunteers are able to join the survey and monitoring teams who conduct numerous research dives across many of RajaAmpats amazing coral reefs, helping Barefoot to achieve one of their goals to assist local government and communities to conserve and protect the coral reefs of Raja Ampat. One of the ways we hope to achieve this is to create a GIS map of the corals surrounding the islands of Raja Ampat. Volunteers who have completed the science training program are integral to this goal as without them mapping of the area would be a near on impossible task, due to the scale of biodiversity and area of reef cover.

Barefoot hopes to map Raja Ampat one island at a time in the hopes that the information and data they gather can be used by management officials and other conservation bodies who share our goal of protecting the reefs for future generations.