This coming season Naucrates team will work on finding answers to Does the amount of marine debris stranded on the beach affect the sea turtle nesting ground?
While evaluating, we will involve guest, volunteers, children, tourists in beach cleaning events and collecting marine debris. A station will be set up near Naucrates camp, where the evaluation of the amount of debris will be recorded and where we will create a Turtle Sculpture of collected items.
The sculpture will be a big adult, turtle mother, then children will make up to 100 baby turtles, which represent the number of eggs laid in one nest!
Each child that visits or joins volunteering with us can make one, until we reach 100. The sculpture will be placed in the Community Conservation Center at Lions village in memory of Pipap, our beloved friend and long term staff member.
In season 2016-2017 we conducted a reef survey on the nearby reef. This reef is located between Koh Phra Thong and two smaller islands called Koh Pring Jai and Noi, on the west side of Phra Thong. The location is reachable by swimming and kayaks depending on the tide.
In the survey we recorded fish species, invertebrate species and substrate coverage and compared our result to surveys done previous years (2004, 2006 and 2011). The aim was to see how the reef has recovered from the tsunami in 2004 which caused damage to the reef and island.
The surveys were done by snorkeling on the reef. This was a bit more challenging than expected. Weather conditions were sometimes too rough to be able to kayak to the reef or there was strong current which prevented laying the measuring tape on the bottom. Also the methodology is quite demanding and tiring. There was a lot of diving down to the bottom along the 100 meters of transect.
However, with the help of our volunteers, we were able to survey 5 transects on the reef. The results of the survey show that the hard coral coverage has increased and the amount of fish has increased since the 2006 survey.
The reef is still recovering from the effects of the tsunami but lots of fishes can be spotted on the reef and nice corals are seen in the deeper water. Beautiful nudibranchs can be found at the bottom, colorful butterfly fish are swimming among the corals and schools of snappers are swimming over the reef.
Two times after transect surveying a green turtle was spotted swimming along the reef which was amazing to see! It was a quick glimpse of the turtle but still nice to see them under the water. The reef at Koh Phra Thong is naturally quite rocky but the deeper parts of the reef gives a nice look to the beautiful ecosystem of coral reef and we hope to see it there in the future and hopefully in even better condition.
Research Assistant, season 2016-2017