Building capacity in the centre of biodiversity
In March 2011 the CICBP conducted 2 coral identification workshops in Sabah, Malaysia. The workshops were commissioned by Dr Elizabeth Wood of the UK based Marine Conservation Society in partnership with Sabah Parks with supporting funding was supplied by the Darwin initiative. Coral interested types with a good memory will recall that Elizabeth Wood as the author of Corals of the World -1983 TFH Publications. (Not to be confused with the later 3 volume treatise by the same name published in 2000 by Dr J.E.N. Veron). This important early volume served as the foundation work for a generation of coral nerds!
I am happy to report that the workshops held at Tun Sakaran and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Parks were extremely successful. They provided the first opportunity to use our newly finalised Coral Finder Toolkit training resources which, because of their strong visual emphasis, overcame the technical language challenges associated with coral identification. An interesting strategy we deployed here was to use the workshop participants who were proficient with the technical language to lead a workshop session developing a Bahasa Malay glossary of technical terms. You can check out more information about the workshops including results and an extensive slideshow here.
These workshops provided the CICBP with the opportunity to make a significant contribution to capacity building work in the very centre of tropical marine biodiversity and, on a more personal note, see some species which, until now, I had only known from books!