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Stories by Charles Sheppard

Environment

Conserving Chagos: More on the Three Brothers

The Three Brothers islands on the Great Chagos Bank is a magical place filled with more birds than you would think could fit on the tiny islands. On Middle Brother, a beautiful island with its own large lagoon, over thirty thousand sooty terns were nesting, as well as noddy terns and red-footed boobies.On North Brother, a more challenging island to land on, thousands of wedge-tailed shearwaters had nesting burrows in every suitable space on the ground that they could - except for that occupied by the ground-nesting brown boobies.These illustrate how important unspoilt islands are for these birds, as, being ground nesters, they would be completely vulnerable to rats, cats, dogs and of course man in inhabited areas...

March 25, 2012 — Charles Sheppard
Environment

Conserving Chagos: Thoughts from the Diving Officer

Expedition Diving Officer David Tickler takes on the story from here:You never know what to expect when you’re asked to act as dive supervisor on an expedition to one of the more isolated reef systems in the world, and it was with a degree of trepidation that I agreed to take on the role for the Chagos 2012 Scientific Expedition.As it was, any fears I may have had were quickly allayed on meeting the team...

March 22, 2012 — Charles Sheppard
Environment

Conserving Chagos: Salomons Atoll

We arrived at Salomons Atoll while it was still dark and waited for first light to enter the lagoon. The captain of the Pacific Marlin, Neil Sandes, has obviously done this many times and the GPS waypoints are well known, but it is still a good precaution to be able to see where you are going.We started work immediately -- Pete Carr visited the islands to do vegetation mapping and bird counts while the rest of us went diving...

March 18, 2012 — Charles Sheppard
Environment

Conserving Chagos: Starting Out

This morning, we did a ‘shakedown’ dive to check the dive equipment and see how some of the specialised equipment performed. In the afternoon, we did the first of the ‘work’ dives, recording cryptic fauna, coral cover, recovering temperature data loggers and some pretty complicated stuff to do with the Baited Remote Underwater Video Cameras, or BRUV, work, which involves a set of stereo underwater HD video systems for collecting fish data in deeper water.Only some members of our team have dived in Chagos before...

March 15, 2012 — Charles Sheppard
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