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Florida scientists explore Red Sea
Dahab’s reef rangers
scientists from the us plan to survey egypt’s deep
water coral reefs as part of a new project agreed
the Dahab environmental support Centre
by the egyptian ministry of Higher education and
(DesC) says it aims to educate all dive
Florida atlantic university (Fau). the Fau’s Harbor
guides and instructors in the sinai resort
Branch oceanographic institute (HBoi) has deep-sea
of Dahab about the marine environment
submersibles that can dive many hundreds of metres to
and conservation protection. in the last two
previously unreachable marine study areas in search of
years, DesC has trained 226 dive guides in
previously unknown life forms.
environmental awareness and local law. this
represents 90 per cent of dive centres.
other oceanographic projects being discussed by the
Fau and the egyptian ministry of Higher education
the group also trains Volunteer rangers of
include the development of state-of-the-art laboratories
Dahab who educate divers about the reef as
for research in aquaculture, coral reef biodiversity and
well as reporting violations of the national
conservation, and marine biotechnology at the national
park’s regulations and biological damage
institute of oceanography and Fisheries (nioF) marine
such as crown of thorn invasions and algal
research Center in Hurghada, egypt.
proposals have also been put forward for the scientists
under the supervision of ayman mabrouk,
to search for chemicals in marine organisms in the red
manager of the nabq protected area,
sea that might be used by pharmaceutical companies.
the Volunteer rangers of Dahab organise regular underwater surveys to asses
scientists say coral reef plants and animals are
recovery of local reefs which have been exposed to damage by tourism and
important sources of new medicines being developed
to treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections,
‘most of you already have good knowledge about environmental practices while
heart disease, viruses, and other diseases.
diving,’ said Jessica Bouweester, a marine biologist volunteer ranger trainee, dive
the projects will be paid for in part by the 14-year-old
instructor and executive manager at DesC, said. ‘our training aims to remind you
u.s.-egypt science and technology Cooperation Fund.
of proper environmental behaviour and especially go through the main points
under the agreement, each nation contributes money
to be shared with your diving customers before they enter the water for their
annually for joint research projects.
dive. We also talk about local laws and regulations and the procedure to follow in
case of witnessing someone breaking these laws. Finally, we will give you a few
Dr. shirley a. pomponi, executive director of ocean
educational brochures to take home with you and you will receive a bit later, a
science, technology, and Development who is leading
certificate that you attended our course.’
the collaboration for HBoi, said: ‘this is an exciting
opportunity for Fau scientists and students to explore
Bouweester said courses are aimed at dive guides and dive guide trainees,
the red sea, to develop scientist and student exchange
however, anyone concerned about the marine environment in Dahab is welcome
programs, and to conduct research projects that
to take part.
complement what we’re doing in Florida and the
For more information on courses and DesC, email
or see the group’s website
Dolphin delight
regular red sea diving visitor nicole preuss jumped for joy in the water after enjoying a 45 minute dive with a pod of ten dolphins at the
Fanous West dive site off Hurghada [see picture]. ‘after diving with us the last four years twice per year she was extremely happy, as you can
see,’ said martina aziz, a spokesperson for ilios Dive Club in Hurghada.
issue 2 august / september 2009 7
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