1 Seabirds

Read the full report here: BIOT Seabird research expedition report January_February 2020

This scientific expedition to Diego Garcia and remote islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) from 14th January to 7th February 2020 was originally a collaboration between the Bertarelli Programme of Marine Science seabird and drone research teams. However, due to delays in getting various seabird and drone team members to Diego Garcia, as a result of cancelled AMC flights, the planned expedition did not happen. Therefore, this report only describes the limited seabird research that was undertaken as part of a revised plan.

A seabird research team of two, from The Zoological Society of London, spent 5 days at Barton Point recapturing red-footed boobies and recovering long-term tracking devices that were deployed in 2018. In total 14 devices were recovered. The data from these devices will be used to determine if the boobies spend their non-breeding seasons within BIOT or undertake a migration to elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. Preliminary analyses of the data suggest that the boobies remain in BIOT.

Unfortunately, the original plan for the seabird team to spend 12 days on Nelson’s Island undertaking the tracking of breeding red-footed and brown boobies was not feasible. However, the team were able to spend one day on Nelson’s Island (as part of an OISP) censusing breeding seabird species, including red-footed booby, brown booby and wedgetailed shearwater.