There is a small and beautifully ornate sea slug that has mesmerized divers on Koh Tao for years, which turned out to be unknown to science. However, our familiar little sea slug has been described in a recent paper by our team, and is now known as Unidentia aliciae. This is an important update to the world of nudibranch taxonomy, as the family Unidentiidae is still in dispute, and this new species helps to solidify the family and genus amongst debating scientists. Furthermore, it is another example of the amazing diversity of sea slugs found on the coral reefs around our island, currently estimated to have over 150 species.
Volunteering during your holidays, also called voluntourism, is a great way to get involved and give something back to the places you visit. It is a way to get immersed in the culture, learn new skills, make new friends, and get more to remember out of your holiday then just going to drunken parties on the beach. In a quick internet search, you can find all kinds of amazing opportunities to help or volunteer here in Thailand, from teaching English at impoverished schools, helping an orphanage, taking care of rescued elephants, joining a marine or land conservation program, organic farming, and much more. But how much do these activities really help, and is there the possibility that it could have a negative impact on the local communities?