The last three days have completed our time in BIOT ending in an epic day packing all of our science and dive gear away until next years science expedition comes round. After an incredibly busy three weeks in the British Indian Ocean Territory our expedition participants have dispersed around the world. Kenya, Hawaii, American Samoa, Ireland and the United Kingdom being amongst the return destinations for our international crew. Whilst wishing everyone a safe return home it is worth looking back at what we have achieved in our time in the Chagos Archipelago.
We’ve revisited many coral reef sites that have been monitored regularly in the past continuing the progression of data on the environment there. In addition we have explored new sites, some of which have certainly never been sampled before. On top of this marine work terrestrial surveys and seabird work have been carried out on a number of islands. This ground and sea effort has been conducted in all of the emerged atolls of the territory as well as Blenheim reef, a submerged atoll in the northern reaches of the archipelago.
The research has been broad ranging and included work investigating coral biodiversity, coral community change over time, coral health, coral trait composition, sea temperature and conditions, sea cucumber population, reef fish biodiversity, Coconut Crab populations on the islands, seabird breeding, and manta satellite tagging. Doubtless plenty of interesting analysis and publication will follow some of which will be posted to this blog to show what results have come from the field time on BIOT Science Expedition 2014.
Before signing off from the expedition blog until these results are available we must remember the folk that made our work possible. Thanks must go to the BIOT leadership both in the Territory and in the United Kingdom who hosted us directly on location or administratively from afar.
Our warmest thanks must go to the crew of the BIOT Research Vessel who offered us cheerful support at any time of the day and night creating a working atmosphere that many of the scientists described as one of the most pleasant they had worked in around the world. And the food was incredible, a massive boost on any physically demanding field trip.
It was an absolute pleasure being on board. All of the science would not have been possible without the crew’s hard work. A big thumbs up to you from all of our expedition participants!
Lastly, thanks to all the expedition participants for their hard work and good company throughout. Looking forward to more of the same next year!