Yes, I know. It's a bit overdue for updates but this is a big one so buckle in!
The first biggest update is that you can find me presenting at the Colorado Aquarium Society's 75th Anniversary August of this summer about my project and what I have been doing.
For the project, I have interviewed around 50 professionals from various aspects of conservation, and will be writing a document summarizing what I have learned. Additionally, as I am approaching the end of my third year in university, I have started to prepare my senior thesis which is about-you guessed it- the conservation of freshwater species.
This project will come in three parts, one of which will occur in more detail to meet university requirements.
Part 1: Information Transfer
One of the biggest problems impeding freshwater conservation is the lack of a centralized platform for information to be shared and used among different groups. This part will present a network analysis, effective interventions, and an analysis of the IDEFS database. The network analysis will help show who is connected to who, what methods are currently used to communicate information, what works well, potential barriers, and what information people need to share. Effective interventions will be proposed based off of the results of the network analysis, targeting nodes that are particularly well connected or that hold a lot of weight in this project.
Lastly, the application. This will be the first document explaining the intent of the application, as well as the problems it addresses and how it is different from other software. This ties into a heavy emphasis on social media to spread the message, including YouTube videos, Instagram posts, and potentially TikTok videos in order to raise interest and participation. Lastly, a few alpha testers will be selected to trial the application and suggest improvements.
Part 2: Unsustainable Practices
This section focuses on upstream thinking to solve the problem of endangered freshwater species. What are the main things threatening species and how can we prevent more species from becoming endangered? Topics such as pollution, overfishing, habitat destruction, and invasive species will all play an important role in this analysis. Thus, we will propose conservation aquaculture: that is, using native (and potentially endangered species) in aquaculture to provide income and food stability to local communities while eliminating the risk of invasive species. This will tie into the previous analysis as well as the application, as the application can be used in tandem with this idea in order to improve output and care of aquaculture species.
Part 3: Lack of United Efforts
This is the part where we dream. My end goal is to create a warehouse much like the World Seed Bank, where broodstock is collected and used to establish captive populations as well as to research species to contribute to the database. Ideally, this would be replicated in local areas so that each location works with the species in their area to minimize cost and effort required.
I know that this is an ambitious project, but I'm an ambitious person. I have been working on this for years (over 600 hours now) and I will continue to work on this in the future. I would love to have your support, so if you have the time please consider following me on social media or interacting with my content. Even visiting this site is helpful! What questions do you have about the project?
P.S. Hello from London!