Conservation Biology is the science that deals with the study of endangered species and habitats. It also deals with the study of natural resources and their sustainable use. Planning and managing biodiversity and species survival in the long-term is extremely difficult without the biological knowledge of the processes and dynamics of the species and habitats involved. Different techniques in conservation science have been developed in aid to protect vulnerable species through proper assessment and monitoring. As a bio-conservation specialist, Dr. Adriana Vella, Ph.D. is involved in upgrading local knowledge of conservation biology and its applications to the local requirements.
After involving volunteers in the Maltese cetacean research project launched in 1996, Dr. Vella founded BICREF in 1998 in order to allow these and new volunteers to assist in different conservation research projects as members of a non-government and non-profit organisation. BICREF membership is free since the individual member dedicates time and effort to the project/s he/she decides to assist. No funds are allotted to research or administration salaries! Proper preparation and training toward the research or project would also be undertaken. Local awareness and fund-raising are other activities members would be involved in.
As the scientific coordinator, planning and undertaking the conservation research, Adriana is actively involved in all of the projects taken up by BICREF, however dedicated individuals with research experience and biological specialisation also coordinate part of the conservation project/s. With all the work needed locally in conservation research this aspect of BICREF will allow more research to develop with the proper expertise and experience.
This Cetacean Conservation Research Project has already produced scientific results presented at local and international conferences. The accumulating and valuable scientific data may pave the way to more accurate local awareness and conservation management of legally protected species/habitats, such as dolphins and the sea life that sustains them.