Diving for Data in the Galápagos

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Fifteen meters below the ocean’s surface, Nicolas Moity glides past a sea turtle in the Galápagos Islands Marine Reserve. With an underwater pen and a whiteboard strapped to his wrist, the pony-tailed marine biologist discretely takes notes. He’s not recording the turtle’s behavior, but that of the scuba diver a few feet away, whose fins keep brushing up against the fragile reef.

Several times each year, Moity or his volunteers at the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galápagos National Park go “undercover” on tourist boats to collect data on the impacts of diving at sites around the Galápagos Islands. After the dive, Moity explains who he is and hears all kinds of sheepish apologies from the negligent divers. He doesn’t scold them, but hands out questionnaires, asking divers for information ranging from the cleanliness of the boat to how well the guides warned them about hazards.

He’s a one-man Yelp with


Original Title: Diving for Data in the Galápagos
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