Discovering a new species in Sabah is very likely!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 @ 08:00 News, Sightings, University of South Wales

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Great friend, educator and honorary Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures staff, Professor Peter Roy Wiles, enjoys the fact that discovering a new species in Sabah is very likely!

On an exciting day trip to the Kiulu River, nearby Kota Kinabalu, the professor is joined by Downbelow’s Marketing Director Joanne Swann and admin executive Shirley from our HQ, in search of a watermite!

Professor Wiles’ years of research into watermite species have contributed enormously to the future of scientific studies of the miniscule arthropod, scientific name Hydrachnidiae.

For the first couple of weeks of his visit to Sabah, Professor Wiles accompanied a group of students from the University of South Wales on their 5th annual tropical ecology field trip, which is hosted by our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Marine conservation is, and always will be, an important element to the Downbelow company mission, and it’s a privilege and honour to host groups of school and university students on their unique educational program.

The professor and his helpful assistants do find a watermite unrecognisable to our expert, however we must wait with bated breath for the results on whether it is definitely a newly discovered species, so follow this story to find out more!

For more information on exploring the beautiful and exotic nature of Sabah, contact our experienced Sabah Travel Centre experts, who will be more than happy to create a suitable program for you!

Future marine scientists help out TARP mangroves!

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From the University of South Wales, a group of future marine scientists help out the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park mangroves!

Mangroves are an essential environment for the health of our marine ecosystem, particularly for juvenile species, small crustaceans, sea turtles and dugongs.

It’s a part of our duty as PADI professionals to protect and preserve our marine environment, and the university students believe likewise of themselves, especially after qualifying as PADI Open Water Divers.

The students had already certified back in the UK, and arriving at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, our experienced Instructors conducted a refresher session to acclimatise them to the warm tropical waters of the South China Sea – not that it’s tricky!

After plenty of buoyancy practise, resident Platinum PADI Course Director and Downbelow’s Managing Director Richard Swaan, introduced a underwater visual census survey technique. With each dive, the students underwater tasks for the benefit of their scientific degree field study gets more complex, and as is expected, they will be all the more confident after such practise!

The better part of an afternoon is spent cleaning the mangrove area nearby our island beach house, where our island staff team organised a clean-up to rid the area of marine debris.

There’s a lot of common ground between marine science and professional diving, and it’s only natural many of the university students visit again to continue their diver education and Go PRO to become PADI Divemaster or PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) on our award-winning PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC)!

For more information on a marine education program our Sabah Travel Centre can create specially for you, or any of our Go PRO internship programs!

Downbelow trains USW students: our future of scientific diving!

Thursday, March 19th, 2015 @ 08:00 Groups & Schools, News, University of South Wales


Downbelow is always honoured to receive groups of eager students from USW, and train our future of scientific diving!

This is the fourth field study trip to Sabah, for students of University of South Wales (USW) to conduct their annual tropical ecology studies.

For a week at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in TAR marine park, students reading for their BSc International Wildlife Biology and Natural History degrees, will be led by our experienced team of PADI professionals for training in scientific diving.

Underwater visual census (UVC) surveys to collect data on fish and benthic communities, line intercept transects and coral reef surveys includes a few of the specialized skills and techniques the group will be learning.

To enhance their diving skills, our team will be introducing a new element to their training. To support the students in their surveys, we are offering video surveys, which will develop their survey techniques when analysing and comparing data. We have designed this additional training with the students’ benefit in mind, as scientific diving and underwater research requires good diving skills.

Past groups of USW students have witnessed the beautiful Whale Sharks when snorkeling with the worlds’ largest fish species in our TAR marine park playground, and this group have a very good chance too – so here’s hoping!

Get in touch with our Sabah Travel Centre for a personalised itinerary for your group looking to receive a unique marine education program at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu!