Lake Malawi Research Diver Internship Lake Malawi Research Diver Internship Kande, Malawi The Maru Research Center
Be a vital member of our research team by collecting data on the Lake's fish and water quality using land-based and SCUBA-based techniques.

4 Project reviews of The Maru Research Center

Project Details

We collect and analyze data on Lake Malawi's fish populations and water quality using both land-based and underwater SCUBA-based techniques.

Who we are  
 
In 2010 Justin Kraus and Okju Kim came to Malawi looking for a place to settle down. After a few years of working on and studying coastal management and development programs in Africa and Asia and working in the African tourism industry they found Kande Beach located on the beautiful shores of Lake Malawi and a little dive center there called Aquanuts Divers. In 2011 they bought the dive center and moved permanently to Kande. Astounded by the beauty and diversity of Lake Malawi’s cichlid fish and dismayed at the inattention that the scientific and conservation communities were paying to the northern half of Lake Malawi they decided to found the Maru Research Center in an effort to better understand and promote the Lake both to the international community and more importantly to Malawians themselves. Lake Malawi is the most biologically diverse lake on the planet with an estimated 1000 species of cichlid fish alone. However by most counts barely half of those 1000 fish have been properly scientifically identified let alone studied. The rest of the lake’s ecological, biological, and even socio-economic characteristics have been similarly understudied. There is a lot of work to be done. Unfortunately Malawian institutions, like most in Africa, have neither the expertise nor the resources to do it. At the Maru we want to do our small part in assisting them so that more can be done and so can you through our volunteer and internship opportunities.  
 
What we do   

The Maru Research Center currently has three ongoing research and education programs. As a volunteer or intern you will be working on all of them.  
 
 
Weather and Water Quality Monitoring  
 
The clear warm waters of Lake Malawi have always amazed it’s visitors. At the Maru we monitor a variety of weather and water quality indicators. With increased development both on the shores of the Lake and further inland we want to keep track of what is coming into the lake within our research area and to know what effect it is having on the lake. Every Malawian and every living organism in the lake depends on the lake’s waters for their daily needs and so knowing the quality of that water is important.  
 
Population and Biodiversity Surveying  
 
Lake Malawi is home to the largest number of endemic fish on the planet. There are an estimated 1000 species of cichlid fish alone. At the Maru we are utterly fascinated by these little fellows and have developed a survey program to monitor and map their diversity and numbers at various sites within our research area. Using scuba equipment we conduct line transect surveys at various depths and times counting and identifying the lake’s biodiversity.  
 
Fisheries Monitoring and Conservation  
 
In cooperation with the Malawian government’s Fisheries Department, Mzuzu University, and other local and international NGOs the Maru Research Center is helping Malawians to better monitor and conserve their lake resources. After the establishment of Beach Village Committees (BVCs) the Maru will work with them to better educate the local population through sensitization campaigns and other activities about the importance of using the lake’s resources sustainably. It will also assist the BVC is setting up community monitoring programs so that the effectiveness of their outreach and management initiatives can be assessed.
The main focus of the project is on
Foundation Year
2008
Contact Person
Justin Kraus
Spoken Languages
English

Social Impact

The Maru has two social goals, to collectively increase Malawian and international understanding of the Lake's environmental health and two bring Malawian and international researchers together so that that knowledge can be put to good use.  Since our founding we have collected thousands of data points on the Lake's fish and water quality and shared them with local institutions to help them better understand and manage their lake.  We work with local institutions and community members in Kande villlage itself to learn in a collaborative manner what environmental and social challenges exist on the Lakeshore and to find ways in which they can improve the sustainability of their interactions with it.  We also believe that the international community needs to pay greater attention to the Lake which is a source of unique biodiversity and through our volunteer and internship programs we have been able to work with people and institutions in over 20 different countries to increase awareness of the Lake.

Pursued Sustainable Development Goals

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