On all the trips (3) that I have taken with All-Star I can think of nothing that "you" can improve.
Conservation has always been a pillar of our organization. Over the years we have conducted research on lionfish for NOAA, coral reef surveys, and efforts to revive diadema sea urchin populations on our reefs.
The Citizen Scientist program gives recreational divers a hands-on opportunity to help with various reef enhancement projects. It’s an easy way to learn about and get involved in nurturing the future of the reefs of the Bahamas.
Update from August 14, 2021 Diadema Trip:
We recently conducted a citizen scientist trip aboard Cat Ppalu where 9 eager divers assisted with our reef restoration efforts. Throughout the week we focused our attention on Pillar Wall, clearing a large section of the reef of algae so that we could relocate diadema sea urchin. Over 50 sea urchins were relocated and can now call Pillar Wall home and will act as landscapers for the reef. Barracuda Shoals, one of our regular dive sites, has seen a 262% increase in coral cover over the last 15 years, which can almost entirely be attributed to the repopulation of sea urchins.
In addition to our conservation efforts, guests were able to log up to 20 dives aboard Cat Ppalu, enjoy beach time, a ripping drift through the washing machine, our shark dive and some divers spotted an undescribed nudibranch that was first spotted back in 2014.
Update from the April 29, 2023 Trip
In partnership with the Reef Rescue Network installed 2 coral farms. One on Barracuda Shoals and one on Lobster No Lobster. A coral survey on Barracuda Shoals showed 46% coral cover. They also relocated more Diadema to Pilar Wall. They were able to find a number of Diadema there from the previous relocations.
Interested in joining a citizen scientist trip? Choose from one of the specialty trips listed below or each week aboard the Aqua Cat we will try and offer guests an opportunity to assist with reef restoration efforts. If you have a trip aboard the Aqua Cat coming up, be sure to ask your dive staff if there are any chances to assist with these programs.
Cat Ppalu - Bahamas
Red Sea - Egpyt Shark Weeks
All Star Liveaboards newest liveaboard, All Star Red Sea, is now offering citizen scientist trips to the Red Sea. Join a shark week trip and assist Dr. Elke Bojanowski with cataloging of up to 6 different shark species using photo identification. Throughout the week Elke will also give lectures about her research, shark populations in the Red Sea and the threats posed to those sharks. Elke Bohanowski is a founder of the Red Sea Shark Trust.
All Star Red Sea - MY Scuba Scene
All Star Aurora - Indonesia
Manta Trust Trips in Raja Ampat
As with sharks, we’re able to gather a lot of useful information about manta rays through photo identification! By photographing the unique markings on the underside of a manta, you can provide the Manta Trust with great insights about individual manta rays.
Manta Trust is a UK based non-profit with a mission to conserve mobulid rays, their relatives, and their habitats, through a combination of research, education and collaboration.
Getting a good photo is an exciting challenge. Fortunately, the incredible marine ecosystem of Raja Ampat provides plenty of opportunities. Manta rays are a frequent visitor to the area, so getting the right angle to capture distinguishing markings is all you need to do!
Our efforts are designed to help restore diadema populations to struggling reefs by translocating them, as well as beginning a coral out planting nursery. The nursery is in the very early stages as it is still being constructed and only a few corals have been placed there. In another 8-12 months, we expect it to expand quite a bit.
The sea urchin (diadema) aspect of the project will be ongoing and monitoring the reef sites is the key to success. Progress is slow due to the nature of the project so we expect changes will not be visible for a little while longer.
Eight sites have been selected (4 in the Exumas and 4 in Eleuthera) for relocation of sea urchins and so far results are promising as we have seen the relocated urchins months later.
All of these efforts are to help improve coral reef populations through the urchin relocation, coral out planting, reef monitoring, and education to make a positive impact on the struggling reefs. The data will hopefully be used in the future by Bahamian government affiliates to better protect these ecosystems.