It has been about 12 months since we lived on Koh Tao, my dad and I. It was with some trepidation, sadness and excitement that we made the move from our home in the Gulf of Thailand to make a life in in Australia. Living in Byron Bay hasn’t reduced our love for the ocean.
I am studying the marine world through a slightly different lens, surfing and high school. Those studies have brought dad and I back to Koh Tao for some research into the underwater world and all going to plan, we can share our findings and research with the world at large.
The aim for the next few weeks is to complete research that we can hopefully publish, but more importantly share with the world at large via the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) in Hawaii in June 2016.
We have joined forces once again with Eco Koh Tao and Crystal Dive who are generously sponsoring our research supplying boats, dive equipment and more than a few volunteers to help us complete the tasks at hand.
Our focus for the week so far has been twofold. The first, I am researching the many artificial reefs around Koh Tao to compare their biodiversity with that of natural reefs. It’s true that natural reefs should be more diverse and harbour greater marine life.
But some of our artificial reefs are brimming with life so it’ll be interesting to see what our study brings.
I am expecting that the natural reefs will be more bio-diverse, however I feel the artificial reefs will be similarly diverse but possibly with different creatures and species.
My dad is working on a project to determine what size the giant clams need to be when we plant them out on natural reefs to be safe from predators. In the past we have received juvenile clams from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) and planted these out onto the natural reefs around the island.
The problem is that they are too small and often get eaten, usually quickly. It seems a lot of time & effort goes into trying to improve the reefs with limited success, a waste of people’s time. Hopefully, if we determine and develop what size they need to be, and some better methods, we can improve the success of this clam project.
So I am back on Koh Tao for 3 weeks. Research is going well, the sun is shining, the weather is stunning and the island of Koh Tao, my old home, remains a lovely place to spend some time, long term or short.
Author: Kailash Cook (PADI Eco Diver / Conservationist)