Bertarelli Foundation BIOT Marine Science Symposium

On Tuesday 11 September, the Bertarelli Foundation’s first marine science symposium took place at the Royal Geographical Society, London. Speakers included some of the world’s leading marine scientists, presenting their work from a wide range of habitats, including open ocean, coral reefs and oceanic islands. The British Indian Ocean Territory’s Deputy Commissioner, Bryony Mathew, and Environmental Officer, Harri Morrall, spoke about the UK government’s commitment to protecting our oceans and encouraging scientific discovery and conservation in the Territory.

The Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science has supported scientific research and enforcement for a number of years in the BIOT Marine Protected Area, with the emphasis on collaboration between different scientific disciplines.

The BIOT MPA provides an incredible opportunity for scientists to work together to understand the role of complex ecosystems for highly mobile species such as tunas, sharks, turtles, and seabirds. Coral reefs in BIOT, like many across the globe, were also affected by the 2015-2016 global coral bleaching event. The BIOT MPA therefore also provides an important study area to explore the resilience that large marine reserves offer in the absence of fishing and other pressures from human activity.

The symposium began with a recorded message from HRH The Prince of Wales, highlighting the crucial work of science if we are to save our oceans from the stress and damage they are under.

The day proceeded with a many leading scientists speaking on their research areas and showing all the work being undertaken in BIOT. Topics included enforcement, monitoring, climate change, bio-logging and the UK’s Blue Belt programme.

A full list of speakers and their lecture topics can be found on the symposium’s page:

Watch the symposium on YouTube:

The BIOT Administration looks forward to continuing its work with the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science and supporting scientists with their research in the Territory.