Levant Nature Conservation Society is a newly established NGO, created by the marine conservation team of the Middle East Technical University Institute of Marine Sciences.
METU-IMS has been carried out various conservation studies on one of the world's rarest marine mammals, Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) and the monitoring and sustainability of the Kizilliman Marine Protected Area in the Northeastern Mediterranean.
Over the years these projects have been able to sustain uninterruptedly through the help of many people who voluntarily contributed to the work with their efforts. Now Levant Nature Conservation Society in collaboration with METU-IMS needs help to keep up the work. We welcome applicants who are excited about marine wildlife, eager to learn and desirous of new experiences. There is no application deadline since assistance is needed year round. Below you may find more detailed explanation of what is expected from the volunteers:
Participation in the land and boat based seal-watch operations and record data on the observed seals, as well as other observed species such as dolphins, sea turtles, sea birds, and record data on passing boats, the sea and weather conditions. Backing up the research team in the caves. As to not disturb the seals, their in-cave behavior is investigated remotely through infrared monitors fixed in the caves. The data accumulated in the monitors are being retrieved periodically. If the research team sets new in-cave cameras, than the volunteers are expected to help installation.
Participation in the archiving, and the organization of previously collected data on monk seal in-cave behavior and activities. The seals are photo- identified based on the images obtained by the remote monitors.
Patrolling in the Marine Protected Area and when spotting illegal activities such as, bottom-trawling, purse-seining, fishing with explosives, fishing in the No-Take-Area, disturbing monk seal breeding caves, inform the project office by provided walkie-talkies or cellular phone.
Informing the visitors in the project area about the marine protected area, its benefits, goals and provide brochures when applicable.
Checking the breeding caves during the whelping season of the Cilician seal colony (August - December) and counting and identifying the number of new born pups. Following a brief training on the species identification and the methodology, volunteers may join the visual census of fish populations in the protected zone and of the neighboring fished area where the recruitment processes and diversity of the littoral zone species are monitored.
Collecting data on the health of the shore habitat, as a supplement to the visual census data described above. The indicator in situ experiments will be directed by the research team and may involve activities such as measuring size and timing of the recovery rate of sea urchins from an up-side-down position to a normal position, etc.
The endemic sea grass (Posidonia oceanica), which is the key species of the upper (infra) littoral zone is monitored regularly. Shoot density, fragmentation, and over-all density is measured through regular scuba-dives* in the selected stations. The project site is located on the northeastern boundary of the geographical distribution of this plant. In order the understand the factors limiting growth of this precious plant in further east the Posidonia shoots collected from healthy meadows are being transplanted* outside its geographical range. (*only experienced scuba divers whose participation may be approved by the research team on site can contribute to the underwater sea grass monitoring surveys) Taking regular photographs at selected points to monitor the seasonal littoral succession of different species, especially if present, the invasion processes and the succession of the Lessepsian species, which immigrate into the Mediterranean via the Suez channel from the Red Sea.
Joining regular experimental fishing operations in the selected stations within the protected area for sampling fish species, growth rates, mortality, recruitment, etc. by using a special multiple mesh sized gill net. The catch is sorted by species first and than, the names, the weights, and the lengths are recorded. This information has vital importance in the management of the fish reserve and is a new application. Giving talks at secondary schools on the ecological and economical importance of the Mediterranean monk seal and its pristine marine ecosystem.
The researches are being directed from two headquarters: the Institute of Marine Sciences, which is located in Erdemli and, the Levant Nature Conservation Society in Bozyazi. Both of the headquarters are located in Mersin which is a major harbor city on the south coast of Turkey.
For more information please visit our web page www.ecocilicia.org or send an e-mail to Ekin Akoglu at email@example.com.
Middle East Technical University
Institute of Marine Sciences
P.O.Box 28, 33731
Phone: 090-324 521 3434
Fax: 090-324 521 2327
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