Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mount Teide, Tenerife.

I know I know, not remotely marine (or coastal) but it is a National Park in Tenerife that we happened to visit when we were on our cruise over Christmas. I just thought to share a couple of photos that were taken on our day trip to see the volcano. Unfortunately we weren't on a walking tour (as much as I would have liked to do it) but it could have gone one of two ways - we could have got to a walking point and be told not to progress further (due to snow or bad weather, likely over Christmas) or we would have been fine (which, given the lack of snow - odd - would have happened this time round). C'est la vie! It was still a brilliant day.

Slightly random addition to the photos but... it was nearly Christmas and we got given 'Tenerife Christmas Hats'
You had to join in, right?

Mount Teide from our first stop off point, just above the clouds.

It was cold!

Back on the coach so apologies for the bad quality but... the clouds.

Mt. Teide and the clouds

"Cake" rock. Several different layers.

Mount Teide from our second stop off point.

Volcanic rock formation

It was very beautiful up there.

Volcanic rock formation with Teide in the background.

The weather couldn't have been better either, okay a little warmer would have been nice but we were expecting to need a million and one layers when we took these last few photos... I ended up taking off my fleece and walking around in just the light cardigan I had underneath it! We were very lucky.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Project placement finalised, presentations to prepare for and a bit of Counting Crows.

I haven’t had much time of late to really update this thing… I’ve never fabricated myself to be this elite blogger, so don’t ever expect me to be anything like that. I honestly hope that any content you find in here doesn’t come with an air of pretence. It isn’t me, and it never will be.

Anyway, I’ve had a busy weekend going back to Manchester primarily to pick up my cat, but to also show someone rather special around Manchester (or bits of it… it was lovely anyway). I shared in my last post an interesting article that was found regarding shark fins… interesting (and important) given the aims to get the selling of, and use of shark fins banned worldwide; a movement that I undoubtedly 100% back. The post before that was what I really wanted to talk about…

On Friday I mentioned that I was just about to go and meet a woman about a summer placement, well… I met up with her and guess who’s going to be the Project Officer for the Teesside & Cleveland coast wading bird conservation project? You guessed it! It is only for a couple of months as part of my MSc however I will be getting a first look at how the companies are both working together (Natural England and INCA) in assessing the effects of human disturbance on wading bird populations on the coast, as well as mapping bird hotspots focussing on separate species, at different tide times, in different weather conditions. It’s going to be exciting, albeit a little scary. I need to really up my confidence and actually do this. I know I can do it, I know I’m intelligent enough to gather the required information; I just wish I was more confident in a) what I do and b) public speaking. We’re in the process of trying to muster together a meeting at the beginning of my reading week (week beginning 20th Feb) which should be good. I’ll be meeting with Catherine from Natural England and Bob from INCA, as well as Katherine whom I met Friday.

I've never actually been to this area of England before (I know, I know, shameful...) but I'm looking forward to visiting the site and meeting the team.

Regarding public speaking, I’m going to have to get used to that a little sooner than the project placement presentation. In about two weeks I’ll have to help present a 40 minute presentation on some aspect of protected areas management (difficult, the module isn’t exactly what we thought it would be like) and then a week or so after the reading week I’ll have to help present another 30-40 minute presentation on some aspect of fisheries management (this should be a little easier and definitely more interested). I was a little gutted, the first seminar group had their titles last week and I would have loved to have done it – fisheries and bycatch – unfortunately with me going away at the weekend, having next Sunday off (Whitby!) and having the first seminar to prepare for, it just wasn’t doable. Still, I’m sure our topic will be just as interesting.

Must go, I’m sitting here singing away to Counting Crows when really I should be using my time to do some cleaning and my stats ‘R’ assignment.


Asia loses its taste for shark fin

SINGAPORE: As Asia’s ethnic Chinese sit down for lavish banquets to usher in the Lunar New Year, a delicacy long considered a must at celebratory meals is fast disappearing from menus and dinner tables. A growing number of shops, restaurants and hotels have in the past few months given up selling shark fin, which in Asia is usually eaten in soup, throwing a lifeline to the marine predator that activists say is long overdue. “Yes, we do see an increasing number of locals and international businesses saying no to shark’s fin,” said Elaine Tan, chief executive for environmental group WWF in Singapore.

“This change in attitude could be due to an increasing awareness of the plight of sharks as well as the result of many shark campaigns worldwide,” she told AFP. About 73 million sharks are killed every year, according to WWF, and more than 180 shark species were considered threatened in 2010, compared to only 15 in 1996. Many are slain for their fins, considered by the Chinese to be a delicacy and costing hundreds of dollars per kilo.

(Read More...)

Source: Kuwait Times

Friday, 20 January 2012

I'm still here!

Oh my goodness I feel like I haven't updated in forever when really it wasn't all that long ago. So much has been happening in my life (good things, don't worry) that I've just not had time however I promise to try and be a little more active. I was slowly uploading a post with some photos from my trip to the Lisbon Oceanarium but somehow my draft post disappeared (maybe it'll appear again somehow?) and so I had to start again. It's probably my laptop's way of saying, "Rach, you should be doing something more productive". Right. Right on.

Anyway, I'm going to see a woman who's working on the project at Teesside today (10.30am) to get a little bit of background about the wading bird project (previous post) and see whether I am interested in doing it. It's only a casual meeting at the university, but I'm still ridiculously nervous.

I'm also in the middle of filling out a questionnaire for an ecological assistant open day on the 2nd February with a company called TEP. They are based in Warrington (my home town) and whilst aren't based around marine or coastal ecology of such may allow me to build up on some of my skills that I have acquired over the years. I have filled out the questionnaire but I just need to update my CV (I need to make it more science/research based rather than a bogstandard "hey there, give me a job" kind of thing ~ I think this will be easier said than done...)

I'm away this weekend, heading back to Manchester to pick up my cat, but hopefully this will all be done by next week so that I can send it off before the deadline for applications.

Any other updates... Diving is going well. I've only had the one lesson so far but passed all of the skills which was good. I need to do some reading for today's session and fill out the little quiz (hurrah) which I'll most likely do now before I go to the university...

Ah, the update isn't of much interest but... I'm still alive! :)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Summer placement; The impacts of recreational activities on overwintering and migratory waterbirds at the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast European Marine Site

Right, I've got myself into a little bit of a dilemma now. I originally ushered this idea away since I didn't think I'd a) enjoy it or b) be efficient enough in GIS or 'R' to do it. Upon speaking to Julie and a little bit of guidance from those close to me I've given it a bit of thought. If I did this well, as in, I did the study to the best of my ability, I had good references, I ensured that I did GIS correctly and efficiently, then this could really be the start of something....

Anyway, it involves working with the project officer - Katherine Simpson - and the lead [marine] advisor - Dr Catherine Scott of Natural England - doing a series of statistical analyses on the survey results undertaken in order to assess the impacts of anthropogenic recreational activity on this site. I'll be mapping the recreational activities and bird locations in ArcGIS and I would be developing a map of recreational activities occurring throughout the EMS (European Marine Site), identifying hot spots of bird locations and assess the impacts according to this. I reckon there would be some degree of research (to predict the impact) as well as to set certain areas where human activity should be restricted...

I'm stuck in the middle of the two really... I need to decide between fun and not particularly relevant, or desk-based (where? York? Redcar? I don't know!) yet skill-building... I think the latter will prove more useful in life right?

Summer placement; Flamingo Land

I've been a little lax with my updates, I know, but I've been so ridiculously busy with revision and getting distracted by various happy things in my life. A few e-mails have been passed between my supervisor, Julie Hawkins, and my potential summer placement leader, Andrew Marshall. Since funds are very tight this year (probably my own fault with Egypt and my Open Water diving course) I need to stay within York or, at a push, the North-East of England. A fantastic opportunity has popped up to work with Flamingo Land zoo which I'm definitely interested in. I'm going to meet with Andy on Monday after our stats lecture (he also happens to teach us stats using 'R') and get some of the background and what it would entail.

The e-mail states that it is a behavioural study on the Humboldt penguin, a threatened species native to the east coast of South America. A lot of research has been done with Flamingo Land in order to determine the optimal conditions for keeping this species based on behaviour, breeding and veterinary care, of which will soon be in review for publication. A new enclosure has been provided to home a large colony of penguins and represents one of the UK’s largest penguin pools. It provides an excellent opportunity to test the conclusions of the paper, and this is where I come in… I need to gather data on the behaviour and breeding success of the penguins in Flamingo Land and analyse the data together with the CIRCLE researchers (Centre for the Integration of Research, Conservation and Learning).