Today saw us sampling two quite different sites. The first, a steep drop off on the Oceanside of the atoll offered a shoal of baitfish that drew in a host of predators. Tuna, jacks and rainbow runners knifed through the shimmering curtain of tiny fish shoaling about them. All this action distracting us from our work on the reef below, apart from Heather and Melita who were kept busy trying to keep track of the various species taking part in the action. The second lagoonside site was teeming with big predators of a different sort. Grey Reef and Silvertip sharks cruised around us while a large gathering of sizeable Coral Trout kept track of us with their goggling eyes. Not the most comfortable of companions to share the reef with while trying to keep your head down and examining the corals below. Frequent glances upward with big eyes to match those of the trout...
Professionals that they are, the expedition crew scribbled down the data they needed and photographed various subjects of interest despite the finned ones swishing about. All of the information they gather needs to be recorded suitably for later use and it is this that really turns the days on expedition into long ones as people work late into the night to process all of the day’s gleanings. Anne has penned a couple of paragraphs to describe this work:
“For every hour-long dive there are many more hours of work, from the preparation of different recording materials to assembling the data collected. The first stage of this is the recording of all the various measures that have been made, from fish biomass numbers through various coral records to data logger readouts. This is done each evening on the ship, transcribing from underwater slates or prepared sheets of underwater writing paper onto various computer spreadsheets, databases and the like.
On return to our various home institutions the analyses begin. But that is in the future for us at the moment, now we are concentrating on collecting all the necessary information; from the data needed to the data that just might be needed, as getting out here is so difficult and expensive and we don't want to miss anything out.”
Select a blog
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!
The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.