Photography  by Sophia Nasif of the Reefscapers crew at the Four Seasons Resort in Kuda Huraa, taken as part of a photojournalism project.

Guest presentation 📷 Sophia Nasif

Reefscapers team photo at Marine Savers Kuda Huraa

Our dream team at Kuda Huraa

Hello! My name is Gabriele, marine biology  intern for Marine Savers at Kuda Huraa.

After completing my Master’s dissertation in mid-September, I was certainly not expecting to be in the Maldives merely one month later. I remember the day when I first touched down on the runway in the tropical wonderland that is the Maldives… it was raining! 🌦️

Gabriele - Marine biology internship Maldives (1) spinner dolphin
Photographing dolphins for our ID project, even on rainy days

My first week was extremely hectic, as we had just admitted a new Olive Ridley turtle patient (Emma)… and things were happening left, right, and centre. Most of my time here is comprised of helping the Coral, Turtle, and Marine Biologists – a little bit of everything. I feed the turtles twice a day and clean their pools. I also carry out some turtle identification whenever we get photos submitted to our Facebook group, or when we photograph wild turtles while working or on our days off.
Additionally, I assist with the monthly turtle examinations, when we check their health and take measurements of weight and size. With Emma, our newest turtle, I help with debriding her wounds, and taking photos to monitor the healing process.

EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
EMMA stranded Olive Ridley turtle Maldives
Gabriele - Marine biology internship Maldives (4) nurse shark
Gabriele - Marine biology internship Maldives (3) nurse shark

With corals, I help with coral spawning monitoring during the full and new moons, which means we can sometimes be in the water from 17:00 to 23:00. Even though it takes up a lot of time, I still find it amazing to see things that I might not see normally during the daytime, such as marine bioluminescence, and our resident nurse shark that likes to rest under our coral frames.
We take regular monitoring photos of our coral frames, which we use for scientific purposes, to track coral health and growth over time. Guests of the Resort and online sponsors receive photo updates of their frame every six months (we email out a website link).

Gabriele - Marine biology internship Maldives (2) corals
One of my favourite photos so far

From the marine biology side of things, I deliver various presentations and talks to Resort guests, right before we set out on one of our excursions. I also take guests on our sunset dolphin cruises, where I work on our dolphin identification project by taking photos of their dorsal fins. Back in the office, I then analyse the images with DARWIN software to either match them to previously identified dolphins, or mark them as new individuals in the database. I also perform data entry to record the marine life that has been spotted during dives and snorkels, by both guests and staff.

Once all my daily tasks are complete, I work on my intern project. I am building a 3D-model of the island and the surrounding reefs, for 3D-printing as an interactable for guests to see the locations of all our coral frames. It can also be a useful tool for us to track our frames in a semi-interactive environment. (This is still very much a work in progress!)

Ciao for now

Gabriele - Marine biology internship Maldives (5) coral crab