On January 13th, MEGAN BERKLE, a high school biology teacher from Huntington Park, California, joined the KHALED BIN SULTAN LIVING OCEANS FOUNDATION to survey coral reefs of the GAMBIER ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA. The research is part of the FOUNDATION’S GLOBAL REEF EXPEDITION, a six-year journey to map and evaluate coral reef habitats around the world.
Founded by HRH PRINCE GENERAL KHALED BIN SULTAN of Saudi Arabia, the KHALED BIN SULTAN LIVING OCEANS FOUNDATION was incorporated in California as a 501(c)(3), Public Benefit/Private Operating Foundation in September 2000. With its headquarters in Washington, DC, the LIVING OCEANS FOUNDATION is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of oceans of the world, and champions their preservation through research, education, and a commitment to Science Without Borders®
Miss Berkle is the third educator to join the LIVING OCEANS FOUNDATION at sea. For over 2 weeks she will be aboard the research vessel Golden Shadow as part of the foundation’s CREW (CORAL REEF EDUCATOR ON THE WATER) PROGRAM. The program gives teachers hands-on experience of marine research and conservation, and inspires them to convey their knowledge and passion to their students..
“I incorporate the real world into my curriculum,” Megan says, “I make it a priority to integrate the latest advances in research. My goal is to design an entire reef ecology guide that can be used by educators in the U.S. and beyond.” Previously Megan taught scuba diving in the Philippines, studied coral reef diseases in the Caribbean, and explored Mexico’s famed underwater caves.
The Foundation will collect data on corals, fish, and other animal and plant life to gauge the health and resilience of the reef habitats. The research is carried out in conjunction with scientists from the NATIONAL CORAL REEF INSTITUTE in Florida, France’s INSTITUT DE RECHERCHE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT, and staff from the UNIVERSITY OF FRENCH POLYNESIA. The Foundation will remain in French Polynesia through April before moving west to the COOK ISLANDS. The Expedition is expected to continue westward until finally reaching the RED SEA in 2016.
Science Without Borders® is registered to the Foundation for financial sponsorship of marine conservation programs and scientific research and to promote public awareness of the need to preserve, protect and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources.
SOURCE: KHALED BIN SULTAN LIVING OCEANS FOUNDATION