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Home | December 2012 Please tell us what you think of this article. Tell a friend Print Friendly

St Helena : St Helena: 1000TH DIVE FOR DARWIN PROJECT MANAGER
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 22.12.2012 (Article Archived on 05.01.2013)

The Environmental Management Directorate’s Darwin Project Manager, Dr Judith Brown, last week completed her 1000th dive in the sub-tropical waters of St Helena Island.

1000TH DIVE FOR DARWIN PROJECT MANAGER


 


The Environmental Management Directorate’s Darwin Project Manager, Dr Judith Brown, last week completed her 1000th dive in the sub-tropical waters of St Helena Island.


 


Dr Brown’s passion for the marine environment started with her first dive at 14 years old and she has dived in numerous places – conducting marine surveys in the cold waters of South Georgia and the Falklands, to the more tropical waters of Belize, Honduras and Ascension - as well as diving for pleasure in the UK, Malta, the Red Sea, the Maldives and Borneo.


Dr Brown’s 1000th dive took place at Bennet point, St Helena. Dr Brown said of this dive:


‘Bennet Point is a beautiful spot to dive. At the base of the cave there is the delicate rose lace coral, and shoals of fish also hide amongst the shadows.


 


‘The highlight of the dive occurred just before entering the cave where there was a side-gilled sea slug - Pleurobranchus - looks like a brown blob.’ (pictured)


The side-gilled sea slug has not been recorded in the scientific literature from St Helena, although when Dr Brown undertook some surveying work on Ascension she also found this species crawling across the seafloor there.


Dr Brown added that finding creatures like these was one of the highlights of the St Helena marine biodiversity and mapping project for her.


 


Dr Brown’s role as Darwin Project Manager on St Helena consists of mapping the marine habitats and the creatures that live within the different environments, allowing her to draw up a marine management plan for St Helena. Her team will be surveying all around the Island as well as looking at human uses of the marine environment.


 


Dr Brown commented:


 


‘A huge but exciting challenge lies ahead, especially trying to survey around the exposed side of the Island. Identifying some of the different invertebrate groups will also prove more difficult and will require sending samples to taxonomic experts.’


 


Dr Nikki Chapman, Manager of the Nature Conservation Division, added:


 


‘This is a fantastic opportunity to fill our knowledge gaps of the marine environment around St Helena. It is very timely with the construction of the airport and the opening up of tourism and development opportunities - as it is important that we have a marine management plan in place to protect one of St Helena’s rich and unique environments.’


 


Dr Brown’s background is in commercial fisheries, conducting her PhD thesis on the deepwater species Patagonian toothfish which is commercially exploited around both the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. She has over 8 years of fisheries experience and has spent many months at sea on commercial fishing boats. She has also been a key member of the Shallow Marine Surveys Group in the Falklands involved in taxonomic identification of marine and invertebrate species.


 


SHG


17 December 2012


 

 

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