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Egagasini hosts a Reunionese intern

By Jennifer Veitch, Thomas Mtontsi and Grant van der Heever, SAEON Egagasini Node
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Tommy is working towards a career in marine renewable energy (Photo: Grant van der Heever)

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Engaging with the next generation of scientists (Photo: Thomas Mtontsi)

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Tommy checks in on the lobsters in his care at the Marine Research Aquarium (Photo: Grant van der Heever)

As a requirement of his second-year programme at the SeaTech school for engineers, a department of the University of Toulon in Southern France, Tommy Gaillardon chose to spend three months at the Egagasini Node as an intern.

In his time with us he sampled the highly varied aspects of the marine offshore node, from lobsters to ocean modelling and educational outreach.

Mentored primarily by Jennifer Veitch, he spent much of his time at his desk downloading and comparing global atmospheric datasets that are routinely used to force ocean models, a laborious task that he performed without complaint. His results assisted in the preparation of a manuscript that has been submitted to an international journal and will provide an objective basis from which most appropriate atmospheric forcing products can be chosen in the future design of ocean model simulations.

Tommy assisted Grant van der Heever with taking care of lobsters being held at the Marine Research Aquarium as part of an experiment monitoring their movement in the presence of predators. This involved collecting mussels to feed them as well as cleaning their tanks.

From crustacean to human interaction

The Egagasini Node’s science engagement officer, Thomas Mtontsi, enlisted him to engage with learners in support of school sciences. The engagement in an experiential manner with young minds from various schools on the science method will go a long way towards the development of local science skills. He handled the transition from crustacean to human interaction with ease and has a natural affinity for tutoring.

For the short time that he was part of the Egagasini team he immersed himself in the highly varied aspects of marine research with unfailing good humour. Of his experience of Cape Town, he says, simply, 'amazing!’

Tommy is working toward a career in marine renewable energy and hopes to return to his home, Reunion, after his studies.

We are grateful for his time at the Egagasini Node and we wish him all the very best for his future.

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