FT. LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – Nova Southeastern University scientists have established an environmental group to help expand climate change research in the newly-created world’s largest marine reserve, the Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Indian Ocean.
NSU Oceanographic Center researchers, along with a core group of like-minded individuals, have created the nonprofit U.S. Chagos Conservations Trust to help promote research, raise awareness and increase public education about the Chagos MPA, which encompasses 210,000-square-miles of pristine oceans and islands in the Chagos Archipelago.
The MPA was created by the British government on Thursday to establish a no-take marine reserve that prohibits commercial fishing. The MPA sits in the British Indian Ocean Territory, which consists of 55 tiny islands that sit within a quarter of a million square miles of remote ocean.
The MPA includes Diego Garcia, an island containing a military base that is jointly operated by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Scientists from NSU’s National Coral Reef Institute are currently conducting cutting-edge research in the world’s largest MPA to examine the relationship between climate change and coral reefs. This will help us better understand weather patterns and other natural disasters.
This research is being done in an area contains the world’s most pristine coral reefs.
“The coral reefs of the world are in precipitous decline,” said Sam Purkis, Ph.D, the NSU scientist who established the U.S. Chagos Conservations Trust. “About 20 percent of them are lost forever. The designation of the Chagos as a no-take zone would set a precedent for the worldwide establishment of extraordinarily large marine protected areas to protect coral reefs and other marine species.”
Purkis said the Chagos MPA is a giant step forward for preserving the oceans and the species that call it home.
Ken Ma, NSU Office of Public Affairs
954-262-5308 (office), 954-830-4177 (cell), email@example.com