My name is Justin Kraus and I am excited about the opportunity that this forum, and the ACA in general, provides for me to be in conversation with so many cichlid enthusiasts and conservationists back in my home country. I am the director of a young research station located on the northern shores of Lake Malawi called the Maru Research Center (www.themaru.org
) that is dedicated to the study and conservation of Lake Malawi in all of its aspects but especially in terms of its great biological diversity. Since our founding last year we are the first lake research center to work on the northern half of Lake Malawi since the colonial era nearly 60 years ago when the JFRO had a station at Nhkata Bay. Studying Lake Malawi’s biodiversity, of course, means studying its Cichlids. Which is one of the reasons why I am here writing this post. The Maru Research Center can benefit immensely from the collective knowledge that you all bring to the table on this forum and at other ACA sponsored events. Furthermore we hope that we can contribute to that collective knowledge and share what we are learning here in Malawi. At the moment our research focuses on conducting baseline population and biodiversity surveys using SCUBA at a variety of underwater sites to help us gain a better general understanding what species exist, and where, in the northern half of the lake. Having conducted these surveys regularly for the past 8 months, we are already very excited by the data that we have collected. Finally the Maru also offers opportunities for interested parties whether in groups, or as individuals to observe and learn more about the cichlids in their natural environment by organizing, in association with Aquanuts Divers (www.aquanutsdivers.com
), scuba diving/snorkeling expeditions to our Research Center and around Lake Malawi generally. If any of this sounds interesting I welcome inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
. In my next post I will be uploading some photos of some cichlids that we are having a hard time identifying to see if any of you guys or gals can help us tag it or if (and wouldn’t it be cool?) we may have a few new species on our hands.