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Seychelles hosts regional DiDem Thematic School on reef heritage vulnerability 

Victoria, Seychelles | June 12, 2024, Wednesday @ 13:16 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3537
Seychelles hosts regional DiDem Thematic School on reef heritage vulnerability 

Doctoral and post-doctoral scientists, coral reef managers, and experts from non-governmental organisations had the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge. (University of Seychelles)

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Reef heritage vulnerability is the main theme being discussed through the Dialogue Science - Decision Makers for Integrated Management of Coastal and Marine Environment (DiDEM) project.

The collaboration headed by experts from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) has brought together experts from the University of Seychelles (UniSey), Seychelles Park and Garden Authority, institutes and universities from the region in meetings, called the Thematic School, held in Seychelles this week.

The main aim is to provide doctoral and post-doctoral scientists, coral reef managers, and experts from non-governmental organisations the opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, and methods, especially about assessing the resilience of reef ecosystems. It will also help consider coral reefs as a natural heritage and build a coral social-ecological system and ultimately follow an integrated approach; bridging the final goal to put coral reef heritage as a cross-cutting body of analysis and management.

Over five days, the project financed by the Monaco Expedition, will explore the concepts of resilience, vulnerability, heritage and social-ecological systems from the perspective of sustainable science.  

An expert scientist from IRD, Dr Gilbert David, emphasised the importance of understanding the human aspect as part of the reef heritage and said, "You need to link human beings and resource ecosystems."

Speaking to SNA, the acting director for the Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI) at UniSey, Dr Jerome Harlay, explained that this thematic school helps.

"It's important for the University of Seychelles and the Blue Economy Institute to have a network. And the regional experts that we are receiving here will help us broadcast our ideas and we will also gain knowledge from outside. We've got different islands; we've got different practices. [...] As was mentioned during one of the presentations, it's very hard to read all the literature. So sometimes we need to also convey this message by speaking to each other because it makes more of an impact," said Harlay.

One of the participants, fisheries specialist and consultant, Dr Ameer Ebrahim, said, "Such events bring great value to the country because it not only brings experts together, but we are also gaining insight into what is happening in the neighbouring countries. So far the thematic school has been very interesting, we even had an expert talking about the formation of Seychelles' different islands and the geometry of the country."

Dr Pascale Chabanet, a leading IRD scientist on Indian Ocean coral reefs, explained the importance of an interdisciplinary thematic school on coral reefs. She emphasised the need to understand reefs from both scientific and societal perspectives.

"It is very important to have an interdisciplinary and multi-actor approach, including the view of the scientist as well as society. It's what we call sustainable science in IRD. If you want a sustainable solution you have to involve society," she added.

Chabanet also discussed the threats facing reefs including human pressures like pollution and climate change stresses increasing bleaching events as well as the resilience and adaptation of certain coral to cope with thermal stress.  

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Tags: DiDEM, University of Seychelles

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