Scuba divers on NAI’A are excellent citizen scientists contributing to coral reef monitoring and marine baseline studies in Fiji and whale identification in Tonga.
Participation by Passengers
The level of participation in eco-diving tours varies not only from project to project but also from person to person. In some cases it is enough for people simply to watch and ask questions. In others our guests are key players completing central tasks. For example, our depth temperature-monitoring program doesn't offer much opportunity for divers to actually do anything. But the graphic results that we print out for those who want them - and the simple equipment used - are often the impetus for much dinnertime discussion on ocean currents, weather patterns or coral bleaching. On the other hand, during our Primal Ocean Project 2000 research expedition, each guest was trained in specific survey techniques and was entirely responsible for the data collected in their field (corals, invertebrates, predator fish, herbivores etc) that went onto form the bulk of the scientific papers and reports on diversity and abundance that the journey produced.
Several of our passengers on Tonga Humpback Whale Expeditions contribute their identifying fluke photographs and video to the regional library of humpback whales. We often record guest divers' interesting observations or sightings in our dive log/reef database. A few NAI'A divers have spoken at village schools about marine conservation and showed video or photos of the underwater life off village shores. Many have generously donated books and other educational tools to local communities. But everyone goes home having learned some Fijian language, followed traditional customs and experienced first hand the memorable and unique flavor of Kava!
NAI’A partners with scientists from the University of the S. Pacific, World Wildlife Fund, Wilderness Conservation Society, Conservation International and more.
The remarkable diving in the Phoenix Islands World Heritage Site was first discovered by NAI’A in 1997. The ship has made the 2,000-mile expedition ten times.
Having learned from guest scientists, NAI’A crew present the knowledge to our guests to add value to the scuba diving experience in Fiji or whales in Tonga.
“Fiji is a hot spot of biodiversity. We’re here for the rich colorful soft coral reefs as well as the unusual stuff - the strange little creatures and endemic fishes.”
~ Dr. Tim Laman, biologist and National Geographic Photojournalist