7 July Seabird Research Exped – Nelson’s Island

Download the full report here: BIOT seabird report July 2018 expedition – Nelson’s Island (PDF)

As part of the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science The Zoological Society of London
(ZSL) and Exeter University, mounted an seabird research expedition to Nelson’s Island (NI),

British Indian Ocean territory (BIOT), during 03 – 24 July 2018. The expedition to NI was
combined with research on Diego Garcia (DG); but due to the unique nature of the NI phase, a specific report has been produced. The research team were left without close boat support for 12 days on the island; a move that is unprecedented in modern day BIOT science.

The overall mission of the NI expedition was part of the wider seabird ecology programme to explore the importance of the surrounding Marine Protected Area (MPA) for breeding
seabirds. The research continued to use Red-footed Booby (RFB) as an indicator species, as has been used on DG for two years. For the first time ever in BIOT Brown Booby (BB) were also used as a study species. Building on the two years of ornithological research on DG, the specific objectives of the NI expedition were:

Objective 1: To commence the documentation of the year round biology and foraging
ecology of breeding RFB and BB at NI.

Objective 2: To establish the status and distribution of breeding seabirds on NI.