We’re now approaching the final week of the expedition, so we caught up with the honours students to ask them how their projects were going so far. Here’s what they said.

“Sterling. Data collection is progressing whilst dive skills are also on the up. I have a clear trajectory of where I want the project to go with sound advice from Neil, Charlotte and Guy (the PhD researchers). My initial aims have been tweaked to focus more on the developmental processes which underlie change in hawkfish freckle markings and if current identification software (I3S) can pick up changes within encountered individuals across the previous years of the expedition. Egypt is a fantastic place, not only to use as a resource for scientific understanding of tropical marine ecology, but also to build up an idea of what life is like in the field for a researcher.” – Mark, Freckled Hawkfish project

“Initial data collection proved to be challenging as this is a completely new study for the Egypt expedition. My buddy and I needed to overcome challenges of navigating a new site and successfully setting up cameras on tripods, often in some tough diving conditions. The project is now well underway and data collection has proven successful over the past few weeks. I’m planning on setting up cameras on the house reef to film anemones and their symbiotic clownfish which will act as comparative data to my predominant site of The Rock” – Dani, Red Sea Clownfish project

“Data collection is finally coming along after a long stretch of perfecting methods and problem solving. This involved a lot of observations, a few glitches with equipment and water conditions along the way and even a free-diving course from our very own Mermaid Melanie! I’m finally getting comfortable in my project and averaging about 4 hours in the water a day which I can’t complain about, with the rest of my day spent compiling my data into various software’s and reading up on relevant literature. I’m now looking forward to the final stretch of fieldwork investigating the activity budget, territoriality and movement of my little hawkfish!” – Lucy, Freckled Hawkfish project

“Data collection is going well. I had a really good time on the liveaboard and got a few drops done while out there. Would’ve been nice to get a few more done but conditions weren’t always favourable. Looking forward to getting out on a speedy from El Qoseir to get a good few more camera drops in the last few weeks of the expedition.” – Rachel, Camera drop project