In 2009, Helena Sims became one of the first recipients of the new Earthwatch Shulman Awards, created by conservationist Neville Shulman CBE.
Helena realised that bringing multiple pieces of research together into one database could create a clearer picture of protected and unprotected marine areas in the Seychelles. Funded by her £4,000 Earthwatch Shulman Award grant, she collated and analysed 405 scientific papers and 10 years of marine monitoring data on fish, coral, sea urchin, algal and sponge cover across open reefs and closed Marine National Parks.
Helena’s project produced a live database held by The Seychelles National Parks Authority. The database allows scientists and managers to identify changes within and between protected areas, impacting future conservation efforts.
As well as conducting local community presentations, Helena used her award to present her findings to the government to update them on the status of coral reefs.