Yorkshire Divers - Jamie Watts and the Marine Jigsaw -
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  • Jamie Watts and the Marine Jigsaw - Red Sea Workshops

    Jamie Watts is a leading marine ecologist, expedition leader and naturalist guide working in earthís most spectacular marine ecosystems. Jamie writes and presents on marine and polar wildlife, global-scale ecology, human ecological footprint and climate change, his research has included everything from Omani coral reefs to Antarctic copepods. Last year Jamie took some time out from his British Antarctic Survey, to lead a successful Marine Biology workshop for OonasdiversÖ bringing his vast experience and knowledge to some very enthusiastic divers.

    So, what is a Marine Biology Workshop?

    The aim is to offer a complete framework for understanding how marine life anywhere and everywhere on earth works. There are various fish id and local marine life awareness courses around, but the scope is usually limited. Weíre looking at everything from plankton and ecology, to various types of reefs, sharks, whales and seabirds. The workshop design is to provide a basic framework of Ďtheme daysí and presentations, to allow flexibility to focus on the preferences of the individualsí on the course.

    Why do you choose the locations you do?

    The ideal area has a broad range of marine life and habitats, and, of course, should be fantastic diving! If I had a wish list, it would include the strong possibility of seeing marine mammals, reptiles, sharks and rays, varied fish life and reef habitats, and other habitats like sea grasses. Oonasdiversí southern Red Sea village, Marsa Shagra, really fits the bill, and as a major bonus has the best looked-after house reef I have seen; itís really nice to be able to mix up boat dives at very different sites with unlimited dives on the house reef. This really allows you to spend time looking at specific subjects.

    Is it all very formal, or do you keep a relaxed approach?

    No! youíre on holiday, itís all very social, and the aim is to bring something extra. I do lay out a theme for each day, and you have the choice to join in on the dives or not. We have a short briefing in the morning before diving, and Iím available during and between dives, to point things out and answering questions, then in the evening we wrap the day up with a presentation.

    What do you gain from running these workshops?

    Iím a diver Ė I like diving and I like divers. The marine world is what Iím spending my life learning about. I learned long ago that pure research has seriously limited outlets, and knowledge and understanding are pointless if they arenít put across and spread around. Iíve spent 20-odd years learning about this precious, gorgeous seven-tenths of the planet, and during the last few years Iíve been finding ways to share all that I have learned with like minded people. Basic understanding of organisms and ecology is the key to so many things Ė conservation, sustainability and informed choices to name three. So you could say Iím a marine ecology evangelist.

    If you would like to join either of my up coming workshops during June or September 2012 give the girls at Oonasdivers a call on 01323 648924 or drop them an email at [email protected]
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