In the dark winter of 2013 Daniel and his partner, fellow marine biologist Emily Cunningham, flew out to the tiny and remote volcanic island of Ascension to work for the Ascension Island Government (AIG). Following their succesful work in Sri Lanka, Daniel and Emily had been recruited to head up the Sea Turtle monitoring programme for the AIG Conservation Department.

Ascension Island is a UK Overseas Territory. Located in the sub-tropical waters of the South Atlantic, it hosts the second largest Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) rookery in the Atlantic – being comprised of up to 20,000 nests every year! Daniel and Emily managed the turtle monitoring team during the 2014 season, conducting activities such as beach nest counts, habitat management and collecting data on nesting success and temperature.

Ascension Island is pretty remote, being over 800 miles from the nearest land.

At the end of the monitoring season Daniel was seconded into the Marine & Fisheries Team where he conducted underwater SCUBA surveys of the islands rocky reefs as well as fisheries data collection – principally age estimation of the island’s large predatory fish such as Tuna and Billfishes.

Daniel & Emily returned to the UK in August 2014.

Daniel stands with visiting Army Cadets after supervising habitat management work © Emily Cunningham
The remote nesting beach in the North East area of Ascension Island © Emily Cunningham
Daniel placing a temperature logger into the nest of a Green Turtle © Emily Cunningham
Looking out over the barren volcanic terrain of Ascension’s lava plains. © Emily Cunningham