On 20-24 May 2023, the newly established Regional Training and Research Center on Coastal Contaminant Monitoring and Marine Innovative Technologies (Coastal COMMIT) at the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution (SKLMP), City University of Hong Kong conducted its pilot scientific diving training program at the Pulisan Bay (North Sulawesi, Indonesia). This collaborative program was led by Associate Director Dr CHAN Lai, Leo, in partnership with Wallace Conservation Licoupang and Sam Ratulangi University.
Dr CHAN Lai, Leo leading the team for dive site assessment on 21st May 2023
The pilot training was developed shortly after the Sub-Commission officially approved the establishment of the Regional Training and Research Centre at its 14th Intergovernmental Session (WESTPAC-XIV, 2-5 April 2023, Indonesia). It aims to test the scientific diving program, and provide valuable lessons and experience in running future COMMIT activities. The SKLMP team spent 5 days conducting dive site assessments and staff training, practising the use of Underwater Information Systems (UWIS) and Ocean Plan system, and conducted habitat mapping survey and benthic dinoflagellate sampling. Apart from identifying the most suitable training sites for scientific diving and practising skills in underwater sampling techniques, the team further deliberated on the development of integrated scientific diving training program and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for underwater habitat mapping and coral reef health monitoring.
Use of Ocean Plan System during diving training
Staff training for benthic dinoflagellate sampling
The RTRC-Coastal COMMIT pilot activity at the Pulisan Bay was a success. Not only did it pave the way for its future international scientific diving program, but it also opened up new opportunities for furthering research and collaborations. We look forward to the great contribution of the RTRC-Coastal COMMIT and SKLMP to advancing ocean science and cooperation in the region and beyond.