The Chagos research programme has been ranked amongst the top 20 most impressive examples of UK research contributing to global development. CCT’s chair, Professor Charles Sheppard from Warwick University, was notified in September that the Chagos research programme had been selected from nearly 7,000 impact case studies submitted to the Research Excellence Framework – the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.
“An important thing here is the endorsement this gives to the overall Chagos research programme, in which CCT has been so important for many years” said Charles.
As we all know the Chagos archipelago is the UK’s most biodiverse marine environment and has the cleanest seawaters ever tested, with a high degree of biological richness, biomass and productivity.
The case study focuses on Warwick University’s coordination of data collected by over 100 researchers that have worked in Chagos. Using it as an important reference site provides a strong foundation for the restoration and management of other damaged reefs and helps communities and scientists better understand how coral reefs function and what can be achieved from repaired reef ecosystems.
The important research of Chagos shows that the effects of climate change on healthy tropical reef environments can be over come in the absence of other threats compared to the long lasting effects on damaged reefs.
Other top 20 case studies include research on using honeybees to deter crop raiding elephants, fighting bird flu, creating disease resistant crops, helping communities rebuild after conflict, education-enhancing technologies and more.
Inclusion of the Chagos research indicates the broader importance of this no-take marine protected area. Not only is it crucial to the survival of the reef and terrestrial ecosystems but also as a way to ensure food security in a region where millions rely on the ocean for food and livelihoods.