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Master Thesis internship - Agathe experience

Hello! I am Agathe and I am from France. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in organisms and population biology, I decided to lean towards Marine Sciences studies and to join the IMBRSea master’s program for marine conservation. As part of my master’s curriculum, I have the opportunity to partner with MCSS for my master’s thesis under the Regional Coral Reef Restoration Project in the Saint Anne Marine Park. It is a nice way to apply what I’ve learnt during my studies that focused on the restoration of marine habitats, from algae forests to mangroves, considering seagrass meadows and, of course, coral reefs.

As my first time in the Indian Ocean, I am eager to discover a completely new environment. It is important for me, as a biologist to learn how conservation actions are taken and managed around the world. It will be a good opportunity to broaden my knowledge and gain experience.

With help from the MCSS coral team, I started a project on the assessment of the success of artificial reef structures on coral survival and the structural complexity of the reef. The aim is to test a method designed to create habitat and analyse how efficient its use would be on the reefs in Seychelles and if it can be used as an effective restoration tool. For that purpose, 30 metal frames have been constructed and will be implanted on the reef of Moyenne Island in the St Anne Marine Park. 150 corals will be transplanted on the frames and I will monitor their survival and the evolution of the habitats until the end of April.

My work here started a month ago already and I had the chance to take part in the Regional Coral Reef Restoration Project activities while designing the activities to be carried out for my thesis project. I took part in more than 20 diving activities, including cleaning of the coral nurseries in the Marine Park that host thousands of colonies, as well as the collection and transplantation of more than 200 corals on different restoration plots around Moyenne and Cerf Island.

A challenging aspect of this work is the coral identification that I have to be able to perform on the field. For that, I am learning to identify 40 genera of coral that can be found in the Indian Ocean and, obviously, in Seychelles, I can proudly say that I now know 19 of them and I am working on the 21 others.

One of the most exciting aspects of the work so far is the unexpected aspect of the dives, in a good way of course. I came here with little experience and I can proudly say I was delighted to spot a green turtle on my very first dive in the Indian Ocean. A few weeks later we encountered a white tip shark while transplanting coral on the restoration site and we found a school of jackfish hunting for mackerel right above our heads. It is magical every time and I can’t wait to discover more


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