Hi, I am Pauline Lapostolle, a French Master student studying marine ecological engineering and biodiversity management at the Faculty of Science in Montpellier. I am especially interested in sharks, rays and skates species which I started to study with Ailerons Association in France for several years. Thus, I have chosen to dedicate my internship, during almost 5 months, working for Sharklab-Malta, which gave me the opportunity to carry-out a study on two threatened batoid species : the bullrays (Aetomylaeus bovinus) and the common stingrays (Dasyatis pastinaca). These two species have already been recorded several times in few Maltese bays, then it can be hypothesised that if such species occur around these coasts, this is because specific environmental factors suit them particularly. Thus, my objective is to get a better understanding of their spatial distribution around Malta, which can be a useful tool for their conservation.
My study could help to optimise the Sharklab-Malta surveys in the future, and to improve the knowledge about the biology and the ecology of these two threatened species.
Elle Bartleet – Cardiff University student.
I am an undergraduate student from Cardiff University and since October I have been volunteering with Sharklab-Malta. My primary focus is the ‘Fly with Bull Rays’ project whereby I use a non-invasive, intra-specific methodology, which allows me to be near the rays without harming them. The project is an incredible opportunity to see marine life and gain skills in snorkelling and diving, which is really enjoy. To see Bull rays in their natural habitat is beautiful, considering they’re a critically endangered species, I feel very lucky to observe them.
Being an intern with Sharklab-Malta has also been very interesting, particularly when I attend the fish market. The diversity of Cartilaginous and bony fish is impressive. These visits have allowed me to main knowledge and skill in the identification of species, this is important for me as I hope to pursue a career in marine conservation. Overall, my internship with Sharklab-Malta has been an amazing experience, one I’ll never forget.