11 Turtles II

Read the full report here: Turtle expedition report BIOT November-December 2019_final

This scientific expedition to Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), in November-December 2019 brought together a research team of sea turtle scientists from Swansea University (United Kingdom) and Deakin University (Australia). The team spent 22 days on Diego Garcia. This research was part of the Bertarelli Programme of Marine Science and is part of a four-year research program. The research expedition was timed to coincide with the start of the hawksbill turtle nesting season on Diego Garcia.

The objectives were:

1) to attach satellite tags to adult hawksbill turtles and track their movements within and outside of BIOT.

2) to monitor sea turtle nesting activities on Diego Garcia and improve adult population size estimates.

3) to count immature turtles at Turtle Cove using an Unmanned Arial Vehicle (i.e. a quadcopter) and observe their foraging behaviour.

4) to assess the impact of microplastics on sand temperatures and incubating sea turtle eggs.

5) to perform maintenance duties on monitoring equipment deployed year-round on Diego Garcia (i.e. remote camera traps and temperature loggers).

In addition, the scientific team gave two public talks about sea turtle conservation and research in BIOT and posted updates of the expedition on Twitter (#BIOTscience; @BIOTscience) and on the Facebook group Chagos Turtles.