In Action

One of the world's biggest sanctuaries for wildlife has just been created around Tristan da Cunha

A new Marine Protection Zone (MPZ) was announced on the 13th November by the government of Tristan da Cunha. This wildlife sanctuary will cover nearly 700,000 square kilometres off the coast of the most remote inhabited island on Earth.

Tristan da Cunha | @ Kirsty Lloyd/NHM

On the 7th of March 2019, Kirsty Lloyd, our technician based at the Natural History Museum (NHM), together with her NHM colleagues, embarked on a research expedition to the South Atlantic aboard the RRS Discovery. The aim of the expedition was to survey the waters around Tristan da Cunha and St Helen, two UK overseas territories, and collect data that could inform management decisions to help safeguard the islands’ biodiversity and allow for sustainable future development. Kirsty’s role on the ship was to collect tissue samples from the wide range of marine organisms caught by midwater trawls and make sure these were safely stored at -80°C until they were brought back to the CryoArks Biobank at the NHM. The samples and the data associated with them are now available for researchers across the country to access via CryoArks.

Midwater trawls, RRS Discovery | @ Kirsty Lloyd/NHM

The work conducted by several scientists during the Discovery Expedition 100, including Kirsty’s, ultimately contributed to the decision to protect the marine biodiversity around Tristan da Cunha.

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Revisit Kirsty’s account on her experience aboard RRS Discovery collecting samples for the CryoArks Biobank.