Doctoral students from the Universities of Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne and Bern were sailing from the 1st of September till the 9th of September 2018 in the Indian Ocean to study the marine ecology and sedimentology of the Modern Maldivian coral reef ecosystems. The course was organized by Dr. Silvia Spezzaferri, Dr. Andres Rüggeberg and Prof. Dr. Anneleen Foubert (University of Fribourg, Switzerland), and lead by external experts on corals and benthic ecosystems from the University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy), Prof. Dr. Daniela Basso and Dr. Annalisa Caragnano, and the University of South Florida (St.-Petersburg, USA), Prof. Dr. Pamela Hallock-Mueller.
The aim of this ‘Training-Through-Research-Programme’ was to evaluate the resilience of living corals with respect to climate change, and especially the recovery of Modern coral reefs since the 2015 El Niño event that triggered major bleaching. Scientific diving and snorkeling transects at resp. 10 m water depths and within the lagoons were performed at daily base to characterize and quantify the diversity of the living corals, dead corals, coral rubble, benthos and distinctive sedimentary facies. Water chemistry was analyzed and multibeam transects were measured over the reef crest and reef slope. Experts shared and transferred their knowledge through active discussions and special courses on board the Ari Queen.
Text and images provided by Haileyesus Negga