Summer in Mozambique
A student who has just completed her first year on the Marine Science Foundation Degree is off to Mozambique for month on a summer internship.
Amy O'Brien, 22, originally from Kent found out about the internship offered by Oceans Research from the College website last year.
Oceans Research provides and facilitates innovative and dynamic marine research and specialises in investigating the biology of marine mega-fauna and offer practical and theoretical training for aspiring marine scientists. These range from internship to postgraduate levels and are set up in conjunction with partner schools, technical colleges and universities.
Amy will be working at Zavora Marine Laboratory, nine hours north of the South Africa-Mozambique border which is the most remote, intimate and adventurous of the Oceans Research marine laboratory network. Zavora Bay is home to some of Eastern Africa's most pristine and diverse reefs, which attract immense populations of Manta Rays and shark species.
The laboratory's research is currently focused on the impact of diving tourism on Manta Rays as well as on pristine reefs. Amy will be part of a small dedicated research team undertaking vital research in this area, helping to establish methods of best practise to ensure that diving tourism is not detrimental to marine life. Amy will use the research to tie in with her second year project.
Amy said: "I had always wanted to get involved in the research but had never had the money. But once on the course I knew it was the perfect opportunity, so I applied. I'm so pleased to be going; I'm really excited and really looking forward to it."
While there she hopes to also to do some work with Andrea Marshall, also known as ‘Queen of the Manta Rays'. Andrea has been working in Mozambique for seven years and has discovered a second species of giant Manta Ray. Amy met Andrea, when she visited a Dive Show during her first year on the course. She also met others who had been on the internship in Zavora who spoke highly of the internship.
Although the research is paid for, Amy has to pay for her flight as well as board while out there. However with only one intern working at a time at the Centre, the hands-on experience, as well as help, advice and attention she will gain, will be invaluable for the rest of her degree as well as when she goes into the field.
Working in a pub as an Assistant Manager after finishing her A-levels, Amy wasn't at all sure if she wanted to go to university, but she had always been interested in marine science. She found out about the Marine Science Foundation Degree at Falmouth Marine School while down in Falmouth visiting her sister who is studying at University College Falmouth.
Amy continued, she said: "I'm really enjoying the course. The College is a great place to study as there is a close knit community. I think that's really important if you're coming back to education and are away from home. It's also a great place for research. Once I finish I'd like to study a further year to gain full degree and the perhaps go into research in the field."
Dave Linnell OBE, Principal of Cornwall College commented: "What a great opportunity foAmy. It is great to see students getting involved in international research. It is important that our students get involved in a hands-on way in the industry that they will one day be a part of."