This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Group-Activities-FSRS-featuring-MSP-students-Stephanie-and-Marielle-700x315.jpgThe WiseOceans Seychelles Team MSP 2022 Student Marielle

Student Blog – Gaelle

Whilst participating in The Marine Scholarship Programme 2022, I have worked on numerous projects for partner organisations, such as the University of Seychelles. Projects include: the Blue Carbon Project, the Watershed Mapping Project, the Macro Invertebrates Project, and the Biodegradable Plastic Project.  

The Blue Carbon Project

This project is lead by Dr Jerome Harlay. The data and documents produced from this project will provide the scientific information needed to support country’s climate action. 

While I was an intern in the BERI laboratory, I had the chance to collaborate on the PEW/Oxford Seagrass and Carbon Mapping. One part of this project as produced ground-truthed maps of marine coastal habitats and of seagrass in particular. Most of the data (about 40,000 georeferenced photo-quadrats) have been acquired during 4 months of fieldwork before I joined the project. In this phase, about 100 sediment cores were processed, sliced into 1 or 2 cm slices and preserved in the refrigerators. The second phase of this project aims at determining the amount of carbon stored in the sediment. When I started, some of those sediment samples had been dried and weighted and I processed the remainder. Then, I tested and applied laboratory techniques to determine the organic matter (OM) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) contents or each sample, using a method that is based on differential weight measurements of dry weight (after overnight drying at 105oC), loss on ignition at 550oC (LOI550) and loss on ignition at 950oC (LOI950) that combust OM and CaCO3 sequentially. 

Marine Scholarship Student Gaelle Collage

Watershed Mapping Project 

The foundation of this research is the mapping of three distinct river systems in the south of Mahe: Anse Royale, Grand Police, and Val d’en Dor. We are carefully examining these watersheds’ actual cartography, as well as their land uses, pollution levels, and vegetation. 

  • Maps showing the watercourse 
  • Land use mapping along the river  
  • Vegetation mapping along the river 
  • Pollution mapping along the river 

Macro invertebrate’s composition and abundance of the Anse Royale mangrove wetlands

This project is being conducted by Bianca Marzocchi, as a follow up of her BSc research project. The data and documents produced from this project will be useful to the GEF Ridge to Reef program and it acts as a baseline or preliminary work for future projects with the same or similar aims. In essence, we are assessing the ecological status of this mangrove forest. In order to achieve this, we have chosen to focus primarily on macroinvertebrates, examining their diversity and abundance. Small aquatic invertebrates are used as bio-indicators of the ecological status of rivers and streams. This is due to the fact that they provide food to the higher trophic levels; thus, their diversity and abundance will provide us a clue as to what other species might be there, as well as a measure of how healthy the food chain is. The subhabitats found within mangrove forests have an impact on their variety as well; for example, macroinvertebrates located close to the beach may be different from those found close to freshwater marshes. 

Blue Grant Fund (BGF)-5 project: Addressing the diversity and sustainable uses of macro-algal resources in Seychelles 

Addressing the issues of microfiber plastic pollution can be as simple as choosing biodegradable products such as the bioplastic created under the SeyCCAT project of Ms Mariette Dine in collaboration with UniSey.  

The overall goal of the project is to advocate for bio-based innovative and promote the sustainable use of marine resources such as macroalgae and their potential for local processing into algae-based products. This would then reduce the use of conventional plastics. The project targets two specific outcomes. The first aspires to bridge existing knowledge gaps on macroalgal diversity and abundance, and to short-list species with the best potential for valorisation in Seychelles. The second outcome focuses on advocacy and to build expertise in bio-based innovation and work towards shifting mindset using applied science and product development. 

Bioplastic is one of the most tropical innovations. This is due to rising concerns about micro-plastic pollution in the ocean conflicting with increasing demand for convenient take-away, groceries door delivery and pre packed ready-to-eat food due to busy lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

I thought that all of the projects listed above were interesting and helpful for gathering information for similar projects in the future and for Seychelles’ chances of reaching its sustainable development goals. Blue Carbon was the project in which I had the most chances to be involved. Even though we did the same routine every day, I followed the procedure to be accurate. I kept an eye on how the other projects were going and I helped them when they needed it. Through these projects I have gained so much experience.

Thank you to SeyCCAT for funding the Marine Scholarship Programme 2022

Learn more WiseOceans’ Marine Conservation work here

Learn more about our partnership with Four Seasons Resort Seychelles here