2023: Our Year in Review

This year, we launched our 5-Star PADI dive center supporting marine science, encountered exciting marine life such as a Dwarf Minke whale, incredibly rare ornate eagle rays and a sailfish, hosted a great group of Scientific Training Participants, and supported marine science throughout the year via our Ocean Observatory. We formed new partnerships, expanded our team and continued providing logistical support . Scroll to read our 2023 highlights.

Rare sightings

In August, a dwarf minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) sighting at the end of a dive south of the Bazaruto Archipelago, left both the Scientific Training Participants and the diving team in awe. The rare encounter contributes to knowledge on the cetacean biodiversity in the region. In October, a harlequin snake eel (Myrichthys colubrinus) was sighted by the team. Looking very similar to a banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) at first glance it is usually difficult to identify the animal correctly. However, the BCSS team noticed subtle differences in features that help telling the species apart.

Underwater wildlife sightings map

New Partnerships and Contributions to Scientific Publications

Looking back on the year, we are proud to have established new, valuable partnerships. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Universal Plastic in April this year. The organisation uses AI algorithms and blockchain technology to achieve transparency and traceability of marine debris, with the goal of closing the plastic waste circle through tracking systems. Another exciting partnership was formed when BCSS became part of the Western Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), focusing on supporting Western Indian Ocean marine sciences in all its forms since 1993. To top it off, a few weeks ago a paper on pioneering deep learning framework for marine mammal and bioacoustic research was published – Deep Voice Foundation conducted the fieldwork for this research, and BCSS hosted the foundation and facilitated said data collections.

Last spots available for Dive Master Traineeships in 2024

“My experience as a dive master trainee at BCSS was incredible and I couldn’t be happier with my choice to do it here. Would 100% recommend!”

– Anni Malinen

Marine Debris Collections

In 2023, a total of 1629kg was collected. The regular clean ups were  executed at five different sites, covering four different habitats: beach, mudflats, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows. Most marine debris was found in February, June and July. The debris mainly consisted of plastics (40,7%), rubber (30,8%) and marine gear (11,2%).

A Successful First Year of Hosting Scientific Training Participants

We look back on a fantastic year of sharing knowledge with ocean enthusiasts and budding scientists at our field station on Benguerra Island. The new program was launched in March to offer passionate individuals the opportunity to gain core knowledge and practical skills in marine research and environmental science. We have thoroughly enjoyed hosting all the participants, and look forward to another great year of welcoming new students.

“My time at the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) was nothing short of extraordinary, and I can confidently say that it was a life-changing experience.” – Emily Velasuez

Our video highlights

2023 was a great year for BCSS, and we would like to thank you for your continuous support. We are looking forward to another year filled with exciting expeditions, incredible wildlife sightings, meaningful research, and inspiring visits. We wish you a healthy and happy new year! 

Missed it? These are last year’s best-read articles

BCSS's features of 2023

For questions about this article, please contact:
Iris Uijttewaal, Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies

Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies
Host of the first permanent Ocean Observatory focused on multi-ecosystem time series research in Africa, the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies (BCSS) was established in 2017 as in independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to protect and support the fragile ecosystems of the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique. The research station is located on Benguerra Island, off the coast of Mozambique.

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