September 26, 2023
One sign of a recovering reef is coral recruitment, and thankfully it was abundant during the field surveys in Beqa Lagoon. On the fringing reef surrounding Rukua village, hundreds of small branching and boulder corals can be seen successfully growing …
September 21, 2023
A key component of the United Nations Endorsed Project Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics is outreach and community engagement. During the joint outreach and fieldwork campaign with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) and Pacific Blue Foundation (PBF), four villages were visited in the Beqa-Yanuca Seascape. Community engagement and outreach are both important cultural practices for the Chief’s blessing and permission to work on the reef surrounding the villages, but they are also important for visiting scientists to gain valuable local knowledge about the nearshore ecosystem. The final component of the outreach program was to teach several local community members the survey methods for collecting coral reef transect data.
The lagoon is surrounded by several villages, each with its own unique character and traditions. The KSLOF and PBF team worked with four of these communities: Naisomo, Raviravi, Rukua, and Yunuca. The most important first step for community engagement in the Fijian islands is meeting with the head Chief and other community elders to receive permission to work in the waters near to their village. The meeting is called a sevu sevu. The sevu sevu must be done before any work in the water or on shore is started. It is considered extremely disrespectful if this cultural practice is not followed by outside visitors.
During the meeting with the Chief and his advisors, it is customary to partake in a ceremonial drink called kava. It is traditionally prepared by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder, straining it, and mixing it with cold water in a large bowl called a tanoa. Tanoas are carved out of a native hardwood and often have designs to reflect the history of the village. The kava mixture is then poured and drunk out of a bilo, which are small cups carved from coconuts. As the kava is shared amongst the villagers and visitors, the Chief asks what the purpose of the visit is and how it will benefit the community.
September 19, 2023
The reefs surrounding the Beqa Lagoon in Fiji have endured many events that threaten their ability to survive, including bleaching events, crown-of-thorns outbreaks, and cyclone damage. These reefs are incredibly important to the people of the region, and to save them, the surrounding villages and communities want to have a pulse on the health of their marine resources. To help manage these threats and monitor locally managed marine areas, or tabu,the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is working with Mila Matairakula, a master’s student and Pacific Blue Foundation’s Environmental Officer. Her project, Small Scale Assessment of Changes in Coral Genus Using the Machine Learning Tool, CoralNet: A Case Study in Rukua Village, Beqa, will focus on streamlining in-water survey protocols to develop a more accurate and cost-effective method for coral reef monitoring.
One of the first test sites in Beqa Lagoon is Rukua Village, which has several traditional protection areas (tabu) and designated fishing grounds (qoliqoli). These areas have historically been managed locally by community members to help keep fishing pressure and coral reef damage to a minimum. However, there have not been sufficient monitoring protocols to evaluate how these managed areas are faring. If the coral reef ecosystem is stressed and overfished, it greatly affects the lives and food security of the village...
September 14, 2023
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is proud to have worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to help them launch a groundbreaking member magazine, ‘Unite for Nature.’ This publication is set to serve as a vital platform for IUCN members to share their conservation stories, showcase achievements, and foster a united sense of purpose within the global conservation community.
Named ‘Unite for Nature,’ the magazine embodies the shared vision of IUCN and its members to work collectively towards a just world that values and preserves nature. Through its pages, the magazine will highlight past successes, ongoing initiatives, and plans for the future of conservation. It will draw upon the extensive and diverse environmental network that constitutes the Union of the IUCN, showcasing the vital role of its members in this collaborative effort.
The Living Oceans Foundation takes immense pride in our IUCN membership. This affiliation serves as a testament to the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to the preservation of our planet’s invaluable natural resources. As a member of IUCN, the Foundation gains access to a dynamic network of like-minded individuals and organizations dedicated to effecting positive change in conservation. Working with IUCN embodies our commitment to conducting Science Without Borders® and working with organizations around the world to safeguard our precious natural heritage for generations to come...
September 12, 2023
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation participated in a workshop in Saudi Arabia hosted by the National Center of Wildlife (NCW). The event, “Blue Holes in Saudi Arabia,” unveiled the discovery of an astonishing number of “blue holes” in the Red Sea.
Over 20 blue holes—essentially underwater sinkholes—were discovered along the southern coast of the Red Sea. These awe-inspiring geological formations have exceptional biodiversity and serve as oases of life in the ocean, providing a refuge for a diverse range of marine species, including sea turtles, fish, marine mammals, corals, and other invertebrates.
The Foundation’s president, HRH Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan, attended the event and was excited to hear that Saudi Arabia plans to set aside the area for conservation as part of their broader goal to protect 30% of their waters by 2030. As an avid diver and conservationist, Princess Hala has a deep passion for safeguarding our oceans. Her participation in this event underscores the Foundation’s commitment to advancing marine research and conservation efforts in the Red Sea and around the world...
September 6, 2023
As teachers gear up for the start of the academic year, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has released some exciting educational resources for teachers to use in their classrooms. These resources were created to further the Foundation's goals of improving ocean literacy around the world. We hope teachers (and life-long-learners of all ages) find our educational resources useful in helping them learn about coral reefs, mangrove forests, and other tropical marine ecosystems...
September 1, 2023
In News@TheU By Janette Neuwahl Tannen August 30, 2023 Two new free VR applications created by faculty teams aim to teach students about coral reefs and let them participate in restoration efforts. Juliana Grilo, an alumna of the Rosenstiel …
August 30, 2023
In Harper’s Bazaar Arabia by Sondos Elgebaly June 23, 2023 الأخبار الملكية ما هي رسالة الأميرة هالة بنت خالد بن سلطان آل سعود في موناكو؟ الأميرة هالة بنت خالد بن سلطان تشارك في أجتماع رفيع المستوي في موناكو BY …
August 30, 2023
Join us for an unforgettable underwater journey that combines education and adventure as we explore one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders – coral reefs. Experience the debut of our educational virtual reality application, Virtual Reef Expedition, for an immersive adventure that you won't forget.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to cancel our in-person education programs, just like many other field trips during that time. However, we didn't let that setback discourage us. We joined forces with the University of Miami to secure funding and develop a virtual reality field trip that could enrich both remote and in-person learning experiences. Utilizing state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) technology, we were able to bring this project to life thanks to the generous support from the University of Miami’s Extended Reality (XR) Initiative...
August 29, 2023
In Marie Claire Arabia By Danny Abu Haidar June 22, 2023 خلال الحوار الثالث لـ Ocean Decade الذي جرى في موناكو، شاركت صاحبة السمو الملكي الأميرة هالة بنت خالد بن سلطان آل سعود بهذا المؤتمر المهم. وفي كلمتها الافتتاحية …