A Rocha’s Aquatic Adventures

We bring you some news from Dr. Bob Sluka, marine scientist with A Rocha International. He offers both an update on the work going on in the States and a succinct report on ARI’s global work.

1. A Rocha USA, South Florida marine intern news

Three intrepid university graduates in conservation science spent the past nine months in Titusville Florida actively working in the conservation field. The interns conducted microplastic, biodiversity, and horseshoe crab research that aids in the management of species and habitats. The volunteered with our local partners to restore oyster reefs, clams, mangroves and seagrass to the Indian River Lagoon, the USA’s most-biodiverse estuary. This lagoon is subject to significant nutrient input, fishing, and habitat alteration which is negatively impacting this ecosystem. There was also a focus on presentation at scientific fora and developing their conservation storytelling skills. They produced a StoryMap on the Florida Springs, contributed to A Rocha’s blog and e-news, and developed a reflective video featuring horseshoe crabs. This internship and work on horseshoe crabs was featured in a Biologos podcast which gives a great summary of the work here and also the spiritual underpinnings and direction of travel.

2. Marine Work, globally

A Rocha continues to increase the depth and breadth of their marine conservation work. One of our main foci is to work with local species and habitats of conservation concern. This ranges from the oi/grey-faced petrel Pterodroma gouldi in Aotearoa/New Zealand to Halavi guitarfish Glaucostegus halavi in Kenya to Olympia oysters Ostrea lurida in Canada. Habitat restoration work includes mangrove habitats in Ghana, USA, and Kenya as well as among many of our new Friends of A Rocha network country projects. Plastic research and conservation continue to feature, including at our now 40-year-old work in Portugal. A Rocha Kenya has had a year-long project cleaning beaches near our field study centre. Our Plastic Toolbox continues to be used within and beyond A Rocha to start new projects and to discover the theological underpinnings and outworking of plastic in God’s world. We are moving ahead in projects emphasizing fisheries particularly livelihoods within poorer communities. Wellbeing continues to be an important part of work, seeking to enjoy the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of being in, on, under or around water. Coral reef monitoring and several habitat restoration projects seek to contribute to our understanding and mitigation of climate change impacts on the ocean.