Top-ranked Reunion GIS specialist, Gilles-David Derand is the new Science Coordinator of the leading Seychelles environmental NGO, Nature Seychelles.

Gilles-David Derand Nature Seychelles' new Science Coordinator

[ROCHE CAIMAN 14/10/08] Top Reunion scientist, Gilles-David Derand is the new Science Coordinator of the leading Seychelles environmental NGO, Nature Seychelles.

Derand, topped the list after an intensive local and international recruitment drive was held spanning some four months. Accompanied with his wife Evelyne and their two children, Lisa and Paul, Derand jetted into the country a fortnight ago and has hit the road taking his new assignment with much zest and gusto.

 “I take it as a big honour to be entrusted with such an arduous task of leading Nature Seychelles world class scientific initiatives which have seen it scooping international awards and putting the Seychelles not just on the world map but also in the scientific realms.” Says Derand.

He was chosen for his competencies which range from Project development, work plans, fundraising and budgets management, networking, meetings organization. Coupled with these he is well versed in Coastal and marine habitat survey, fisheries survey, environmental impact assessment, scientific data collection and analysis (Minitab 15, PRIMER 6), GIS mapping (MapInfo 8.5, ArcGIS 9.2), database design (ACCESS), satellite image processing (ERDAS), scientific report writing, Environmental education, communication, staff training and management.
Before joining Nature Seychelles Derand worked with Spot Image, in Toulouse. He also previously served in senior positions in his native Re Union. Between 2003 – 2005 he was the Head of the Environmental Unit of the Reunion Chamber of Agriculture, where he designed and developed organic farming at regional scale, implemented evaluations and plans to reduce water pollution by nitrates and pesticides, developed a recording tool of agricultural practices in order to qualify farms and coordinated environmental surveys on the establishment of terrestrial and marine protected areas.

He also served as the Head of education and awareness at the Re-Union Marine Park. Derand is well educated holding two graduate degrees. Last year he graduated with an MSc in Marine Environmental Protection from the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales Bangor (UK). Under this degree Derand is well acquainted with multidisciplinary training including biological variability, coastal habitat ecology and survey, environmental impacts, safeguarding marine biota and water quality, Integrated Coastal Zone Management and sustainable development. He also has an MSc and BSc in Plant Biology, Ecology and Chemistry from the University of Perpignan, France. Coupled with these Derand has a string of post graduate diplomas on tropical agronomy and engineering.

 Being a native of Reunion, Derand is at home with the dynamics of Small Island Developing States and particularly marine ecology. He has conducted extensive research and video data analysis of coral community structure of the reef slopes of the atolls of the Chagos, British Indian Ocean Territory; Mapping of leatherback turtle feeding grounds in West Africa in relation with IUCN – France; survey of reef fishes and coral reefs, fisheries assessment; elephant monitoring, game capture and darting, general reserve fieldwork; survey of humpback whales and green turtles monitoring in Mayotte Islands.

“He is a big asset to us. Derand has actually joined us at the right time, to drive our science agenda and initiate groundbreaking research. He is joining our world beating team and we believe that he is a sure bet in putting our organisation at the cutting edge of conservation.” Bernard Solomon, Nature Seychelles’ operations and Administration manager says.

Widely travelled Derand is no stranger to Seychelles. He has been here before and visited Cousin, Aride and Aldabra. He is a qualified Scuba diver and has written extensively on marine matters.[ENDS]

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