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ERI Directors attend Bertarelli Marine Science Symposium in London


UB’s ERI Science Directors, Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts and Dr. Elma Kay, visited London in the United Kingdom from September 10-14th 2018 to attend the Bertarelli Marine Science Symposium. Their visit was hosted by the Bertarelli Foundation to provide an opportunity for scientific exchange. They joined the countless scientists and explorers who have walked the historical halls of the Royal Geographical Society of London, where the Bertarelli Marine Science Symposium was held on September 11th. The team learnt about all the exciting, impressive and cutting edge research being conducted in the British Indian Ocean Territory of the Chagos Marine Reserve, a fully protected Marine Protected Area (MPA). The symposium presented findings on two years of research and exploration in Chagos, which has some similar parallels to Belize’s Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve since it is an oceanic atoll filled with significant biodiversity and heavy fishing interest surrounding it.

On September 13th, the two Science Directors and Mr. Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director of our partner Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA), met with a group of around twenty (20) scientists from the UK, Australia and the US at a science workshop where Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts shared the ongoing science program of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve and Mr. Andrade gave a summary of the management of the marine reserve. On Wednesday the 12th, the team also met with researchers from Northeastern University in the US to discuss research collaborations for establishing a 100-year climate record for the Turneffe Atoll, which can serve as an international sentinel for climate change within the Caribbean. This will tell how Belize’s reefs have changed over the last 100 years, particularly with increasing impacts from climate change but more importantly, how the establishment of the marine reserve is affecting the health of the reef.

The workshop and meetings were very productive with key contacts established for areas of common research interests and opportunities for collaboration to apply technology in filling data gaps and in informing management of the Turneffe Atoll. The UB ERI and TASA team will be following up with researchers from the Bertarelli Marine Science Program, including professors from Stanford University, University of Exeter, University of Western Australia, Zoological Society of London and others to develop a research program with support from the Bertarelli Foundation for the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.

You can view this and other stories in the latest edition of the UB Imprint.

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