OUT NOW - Chagos News #55

As we start another year it is time to reflect on what CCT achieved in 2019 and what the future holds for 2020 and beyond. 

This has been an exciting year for CCT with the launch of our new strategic business plan, that will guide the organisation to 2022, and the beginning of our Healthy Islands, Healthy Reefs programme.

This ambitious programme aims to eradicate invasive black rats from the Chagos Archipelago, which in turn will enable seabirds to recolonise previously affected islands and provide vital nutrients to the recovering coral reefs that surround them. Researcher Casey Benkwitt explains on P14 of Chagos News how new research shows us the important role seabirds play in helping coral reefs recover from, and build resilience to, climate change.

Currently we are working with a number of experts from around the world, in partnership with the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration, to determine the best way to eradicate the rats and boost biodiversity. 

The timing of our programme couldn’t be better with the volume of data coming from research occurring in the Chagos Archipelago at an all-time high. We’ve seen 10 expeditions visit the archipelago in 2019 through the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science. Involving nearly 100 scientists across 24 institutions from six countries, they have resulted in more than 20 scientific papers being published. 

CCT recently participated in a workshop to look at research opportunities related to our Healthy Islands, Healthy Reefs programme. This collaborative working is vital as much of the current and future research is supporting and informing our programme. 

In the most recent issue of Chagos News  we focus on the reefs and how recent coral bleaching events have affected not only the health of the reefs, but also the habitat structure across the whole archipelago as Daniel Bayley explains on P10.

But it’s not all bad news. Dr Catherine Head’s work, P4, shows there is a glimmer of hope for future generations of Chagos Archipelago corals; and as we all work towards conserving this important place this is the news we especially enjoy reporting!

We also pay tribute to William Marsden who sadly passed away last month. William was a particularly hard-working Chairman who oversaw an important period of development for the Trust between 2002 and 2011.  

From all at CCT we thank you for your support during 2019 and look forward to bringing you ever more positive news in 2020.


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