Research and Monitoring

Since its establishment, the Chumbe nature reserve has provided various research opportunities for national and international students and researchers. Long-term research activities, as well as short-term studies have been carried out by a host of academic institutions involving a varied sector of the scientific community around the world.

On the island, a dedicated research board informs our visitors about ongoing research, while most recent scientific publications and research reports are also available on our download page. If you are interested in conducting research on Chumbe Island, please read through the "Terms & Conditions" outlined in the Management Plan and submit as scientific proposal to the Conservation and Education Manager.

Chumbe’s strong ranger team, led by a professional expatriate marine biologist, is also involved in research activities within the nature reserve. The research programs have been designed to be fully sustainable, to provide useful information to support the protection and management of the reserve, and to identify early warnings of stress.

The following projects are being conducted:

1.     Seagrass monitoring
Three permanent transects covering a seagrass bed at different depths inside the protected area are surveyed every three months. Species diversity and distribution are recorded and data is sent to a global monitoring network called SeagrassNet, a global monitoring network, with the aim to increase knowledge and public awareness of this threatened coastal ecosystem. 

2.     Sea surface temperature logging
This project was started by Dr. Christopher Muhando from the Institute of Marine Science (IMS), University of Dar es Salaam in 1997. Two loggers are installed in the reef and provide a continuous dataset of sea surface temperature. The loggers are removed every three months for data retrieval and temperature graphs are displayed on the island. 

3.     Coral reef monitoring
Since 2006, Chumbe’s Head Ranger, Omari Nyange, has been leading data collection for this comprehensive monitoring project that includes annual surveying of 20 transects. Recorded are commercial fish families, corallivore butterflyfish, sea urchin species crown-of-thorn starfish and coral health. More details about the method and results are
summarised can be found in the Status Report on our download page.

4.     Ader’s duiker monitoring
After this mini-antelope was translocated to Chumbe Island in 1998 and 2000, monitoring efforts have included remote camera sensors, sighting records and so- called ‘drives’. More details about the ‘drive’ method and recent updates about this shy antelope can be found in the Status Report on our download page. This project is managed in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Zanzibar, Munich-Hellabrunn Zoo, and the Mammal Ecology Research Group (MERG), Royal Holloway University, London provided technical support. Financial support provided by Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), Eco-tec (Zanzibar) Ltd., World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), British Ecological Society (BES), British Airways, Munich-Hellabrunn Zoo, and Bavarian Television.