June 22, 2016

Reef Check Iran Relaunches with EcoDiver Training on Kish Island

By Reef Check EcoDiver Trainers Nikoo Cheheltani & Mohammad Hosseinpour

In April 2016, the Dive Persia Training Center organized an EcoDiver Course on Kish Island, Iran with the support of the Kish Free Zone Organization, Kish Environmental Organization and Kish Seashell Diving Academy. As part of an effort to train more Iranian EcoDivers and to encourage more divers to participate in Reef Check monitoring, the course was offered for free.

The course was conducted over two full days by two EcoDiver Trainers and Scuba Instructors from Dive Persia: Mohammad Hosseinpour (MSc. Ichthyology) and Nikoo Cheheltani (MSc. Marine Biology). The first day involved a classroom session which included an introduction to Reef Check, course presentations and an explanation of Reef Check methods. Even some non-divers participated in the classroom session to get familiar with the course. On the second day, which involved a practical session, diver participants were separated into four groups and asked to identify Reef Check target species and practice Reef Check methods underwater. The training went well and all student divers passed the tests.

The Persian Gulf has very unique coral reefs. Corals in the Persian Gulf have a high thermal tolerance; they typically can tolerate temperatures as high as 36° C during summer and as low as 13° C in winter. Most coral reefs in temperate climates, however, can withstand temperatures only as high as 29° C before they bleach. Therefore researchers and marine biologists believe that genetic clues in the coral reefs of the Persian Gulf may help coral reefs around the world survive global warming.

Not many Reef Check surveys have been conducted in Iran since 2012. However, we hope that by holding more courses like this, the number of surveys will increase and more data will be collected by EcoDivers of Iran – especially by trained scuba instructors, dive center staff and local divers. We set up the Reef Check Iran team to conduct Reef Check surveys in all of the islands around the Persian Gulf. In the near future, with the help of Iranian EcoDivers, marine biologists, scientists and the Reef Check Iran team, we are planning to provide a separate regional Reef Check Field Guide for Persian Gulf coral reefs.

To join the Reef Check Iran team and become a Reef Check EcoDiver, please contact Mohammad Hosseinpour at +98-912-2604560 or Nikoo Cheheltani at +98-0937-6069998, or email us at divepersia@gmail.com