Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) 9th Symposium gives Watamu Marine Association's young Kenyan scientists a chance to show off their dolphin and whale data from the Malindi - Watamu National Park Reserve.
WIOMSA is the coordinating hub for scientific research within the West Indian Ocean Community and to be invited to their annual Symposium is a great accolade.
The 9th Symposium is being help this week in South Africa, where scientists, conservationists and students will congregate to share new research and data which will help shape the future of our African Oceans and the marine life within.
It was a great honour therefore for the Watamu Marine Association research team who have been studying dolphins and whales for the last 5 years to present a poster on "Cetacean species distribution and encounter rates in the Malindi - Watamu National Marine Reserve 2011 - 2014", which means in layman's terms how often and where Kenyan researchers see Indo-Pacific bottlenose, and endangered humpback dolphins, as well as humpback whales during this period.
The main finding was that Malindi - Watamu National Marine Reserve is an important area for cetaceans. This first study in Kenya using land based surveys highlights opportunities to collect data on migratory humpback whales along the Kenya coast. Consistent and continuous research is required to gain a greater knowledge of these species distribution, abundance and population dynamics. This will provide data and information needed to develop a National Cetacean Research and Conservation Management Plan.
For the full poster please see Watamu Marine Association Dolphin and Whale Encouter and Distribution Rates 2011 -2014, with authors Michael Gilbert Mwang'ombe, Sergi Perez-Jorge, Kahindi Katana Charo, Jimmy Kahindi Yaa, Lynn Njeri Njuguna, Steven J. Trott, Jane Helen Spilsbury
Also from the south coast we have our Kenya Marine Mammal Network (KMMN) cousins giving an oral presentation "Combining occurrence and abundance models to evaluate the suitability of an existing Marine Protected Area for dolphins", S.P. Jorge, T. Pereira, C. Corne, , Z. Wijtten, D. Ponce-Taylor, A. Woods-Ballard, M.Omar, J. Katello, M.Kinyua, D. Oro, M. Louzao. Kenya Wildlife Service's scientists and researchers who are also part of the KMMN, Dr Mohamed Omar and Josphine Mutiso are presenting on behalf of WMA and the south coast data and will elevate the profile of Kenyan data on an international scale.
The current Symposium follows the success of the WMA research team Mike Mwang'ombe and Kahindi Charo who were invited to attend the Humpback Whale World Congress in July in Madagascar earlier this year. Mike and Kahindi were honoured to give WMA's first ever international humpback whale presentation from Kenya to a world audience of whale scientists and experts.
All this progress serves to highlight, not only the importance of dolphins and whales in Kenyan waters, but also the new tsunami of Kenyan marine scientists who are making their names on the international science stage.
Also see: http://www.watamu.biz/