The expedition will see the students undertake quantitative assessments of the coastal and marine environment of Trincomalee Bay and Pigeon Island, a marine protected area, by exploring five specialised research projects and testing multiple hypotheses underwater and along the shore. While in Trincomalee, they will collaborate with multiple local stakeholders to pass on their scientific methods and findings for use in further investigations and for monitoring purposes. They will also engage with the local community to teach young people about marine biology and conservation.
The students will explore five research projects by testing multiple hypotheses underwater and along the shore
The expedition to Sri Lanka was piloted in 2017 to collect a data set on coral reefs and their associated fish assemblages fringing the area of Trincomalee and Pigeon Island. The expedition team carried out beach clean-ups to measure the difference in micro and macro plastic abundance in exposed and sheltered bays around the Trincomalee area, and the students hope to build on the study this year. Through scientific diving, research and outreach programmes, the students hope to contribute to protecting the beautiful and diverse Trincomalee Bay ecosystem and to raise awareness of the importance of looking after marine life and the environment.
The students have been fundraising throughout the year to fund their lab hire, entry to the Pigeon Island marine protected area, boat rides, scientific dives and scientific equipment, including waterproof cameras, quadrants, transect lines, sieves, microscopes and dive and snorkel equipment. They have held various events, including pub quizzes, live music nights and bake sales. Most recently, they held a sponsored beach clean-up at Fairlie beach in West Scotland, UK. RSK’s contribution will help to fund the equipment needed for the expedition, all of which will be passed on to future generations of the University of Glasgow Exploration Society.
“We are so thrilled to head off to Trincomalee and ‘get in the water’,” comments Celine Goslinga, third year geography student and leader of the Sri Lanka expedition. “Since we came together in October 2017, we’ve been working towards this massive foreign research project in most of our spare time. Now it’s finally all coming together. Our methodologies have been finalised; the dive equipment serviced; busses, flights and accommodation booked; risks assessed; vaccinations injected; and bags packed. The team is ready! We are so thankful for the generosity of our sponsor, RSK. It means the world to us to be given this support for our research expedition.”
You can keep up with the expedition on the Sri Lanka Expedition’s blog and The University of Glasgow Exploration Society website. You can donate via their fundraising page.