Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Reporting Back to the Community!


Well Federico, one of our interns at the Maru, has been busy the past month preparing a report document after conducting his Survey with the inhabitants of Masukuhunju fishing village which we will post up here once it is finished.  With the help of our translator, Joyce, Federico managed to conduct just over 50 interviews for that survey.  We believe in listening to, and working with, community members to help improve their lives and in the process promote sustainable interactions with the Lake and its fish populations.  Towards that end Federico today has gone back down to Masukuhunju to report back to them what we learned because of the survey and how we as an organization think we might be help them address the challenges that they raised during it.  Take a look at what he will be discussing with them, the presentation he will use to structure that discussion is view-able below! This is sustainable conservation in action on Lake Malawi!




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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Take a read at what our intern, Kees, has been up to!


           Currently I am doing an internship at the research center. This is part of my university course ‘Applied Biology’. I came here as a dive virgin who only dived in cold pools in the Netherlands. On my first day my virginity got taken away and we made an amazing dive on the island. In the following 3 months I Made around 30 dives and am now a proud owner of my open water certificate. The goal of diving changed a lot lately, from going diving to practice my buoyancy and basically just surviving under water to doing serious research on the cichlids present around the island. 


For my study I survey 8 different transects on biodiversity around the island and upcoming to our new location Nkhata Bay. These transects are laid out at different depths and posses different stratas and different communities of fish. This makes for 4 dives a week for a Total of 2 months. Which Will make a Total of 32 amazing dives with hopefully usefull data as well. The data will be analysed to compare the different biodiversity of the locations based upon strata and depths (5m and 10m).

There is more I do at the research center because there is a fishing village and three rivers to monitor. It is important to monitor these since they give a lot of information. 3 times a week we make a welcoming hike to these rivers and every weekday we visit the fishing village every week. It is nice to participate in other researches as well so you can learn from them and it makes for some nice distraction of your own research. 

Altogether my time here has been wonderful and it is great to experience this culture, the weather, the nature and the beautiful lake at a young age. It makes you more adult and conscious about your life when you have had 5 months in Malawi to compare it to.


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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Starting a Community Engagement Project, from Federico our newest Intern!


The Maru has been monitoring the Mazukuhunju Fishing Village for over 7 years, weighing the fish that they caught everyday in order to get an idea of how many fish had been taken from the lake. In spite of this monitoring when I  arrived to The Maru I realized that everything we knew from the fishing village was based on rumours or casual conversations with the people around Kande, so i decided that we needed to do a characterization of the village and ask villagers their challenges while they are fishing and living in this village in order to be able to create a project together with the community that can both increase the amount of fish in  the lake and improve their quality of life.
So far we have done over 22 interviews and the results have been better than expected, the people from the village, have been very receptive to us asking them questions about their way of life, and we have been able to get to know more about their life style, their organization as a community,  their main challenges in their fishing activities, their opinions about other stakeholders in the lake, their feelings about overfishing, among other things.

Once the interviews are over, we will be able to characterize the  demographics of the village, and also I will be designing a project with the information gathered with the aims of decreasing the overfishing in the lake while also helping the villagers to have a better way of life.

As a divemaster and an environmental lawyer it has been an amazing learning experience to come to The Maru and learn more about different scientific disciplines, like aquatic biology, learning more about the cichilids, how to to do underwater surveys, monitor water quality in the rivers, and also complementing my social science knowledge by getting to know the people from the fiishing village and their way of living, and learning how to create a community engagement project by just doing it. Also just the fact of being living in Malawi , right next to the Lake in a beautiful place like Kande has been wonderful.


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Sunday, May 13, 2018

News from the Beach!


Whao have we been busy! We are already well into 2018 and it has gone fast!  In next couple months we are excited to welcome back our research partner Operation Wallacea to Nkhata Bay.  Last year was a blast and the beginning of some new research projects including when to create 3D maps of the Lake floor using GIS geo-located images.  Down at Kande we have two new projects ongoing both spearheaded by two great interns.  Kees from Holland is doing a study comparing the biodiversity and population of cichlids species in Nkhata Bay and Kande based on a lake floor characteristics.  It will be awesome to see what he comes up with.  Federico from Chile is developing a fisheries household survey that we will be rolling out in the next couple weeks.  We’ve been working with the Masakahunju fishing village for years now collecting information on their fish catches and with Federico’s help we will now starting sitting down with the fisherman to learn more about their daily lives and the challenges that come with being a fishing community on Lake Malawi so that we can collectively find some ways to help them continue fishing on the Lake in a way that will ensure that their children can benefit from Lake’s resources as much as, if not more than, they do now.  We are really looking forward to the conversations that will come out of our survey with the fishers and their families!  If any of this sounds interesting to you the Maru is always interested in collaborating with partners whether in Malawi or outside.  Whether it be as a volunteer, intern, or something else, send us an email at info@themaru.org and for more info click on the link to the right of this post to go to our full webpage.


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Friday, December 15, 2017

Welcome aboard Quentin!

Well here on the Lake we are excited to welcome a new research assistant to the team, Quentin Golo from France.  Quentin is a PADI Divemaster and holds a Masters degree in Marine Biology from work he did in the French Caribbean.  He will introduce himself shortly in his own blog post.  With his help we've got the population and biodiversity surveys back up and running at Kande Island but we could also use more hands to help in the data collection.  Please do visit our website at www.themaru.org to find out how you could get involved!

-Also after a few weeks hiatus, again we can only do as much as we can with the resources that we have, find below our weekly report for last week.  There is so much to learn out here!

WEEKLY REPORT for December 11 to December 15.


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Weekly Report 04-09-17 to 11-09-17

Down here on the Lake its getting pretty hot as summer rapidly approaches!  Its great for diving!  Our new volunteer and Research Assistant, Joao, and Easha respectively are settling in well and have already started to dig into all the data collecting that we do! Speaking of data collecting here are the Weekly reports for the last TWO weeks


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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Weekly Report for the 28-8-17 to 1-9-2017

-Well we've been working off our heads getting down here on the lake.  Which means we are a bit late uploading last weeks report.  Here it is!  This week's report will be up on on Sunday and our goal is to provide the weekly report every Sunday from now onwards.  This week's report will include the Population and Biodiversity Survey's we've been doing in Nkhata Bay.

-We are also excited to welcome Joao Champalimaud to the Maru as a volunteer on Monday!

-Finally we want to extend a word of gratitude to Dr. Martin Genner from the University of Bristol in the UK for working with us to do a follow-up to the surveys he did as discussed in the 2004 article in the journal Ecography entitled "Beta diversity of rock-restricted cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi:
importance of environmental and spatial factors."  We are really excited to get into the water and see what has changed in the past 13 years!


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE WEEKLY REPORT


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