A report prepared by Dr Heather Koldewey (Head of Global Conservation Programmes and International Marine and Freshwater Programme Manager at the Zoological Society of London), for The Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Geographic Society, and the Pitcairn Island Council for submission to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Scientific knowledge of the Pitcairn Islands is based on a series of expeditions from 1825 to 2012. These have been of varying duration and intensity of effort, but the majority have focused on collection trips and inventories of a range of species (plants and animals) from the four islands. In relation to marine species found in the Pitcairn Islands, these expeditions have produced extremely valuable information, although this is inevitably skewed depending on the research effort on the different islands and the focus of previous expeditions. There has, however, been no on-going scientific monitoring carried out in Pitcairn's waters, so we have no knowledge of whether or how Pitcairn's marine biodiversity has changed over this period.
In 2012, the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expedition to the Pitcairn Islands undertook the first rigorous, quantitative measures of species diversity around all four islands. The baseline data that this provided, combined with the relatively limited amount of research previously undertaken and the isolation, endemism, near-pristine status, and variations among the islands provides an extraordinary opportunity to develop a cohesive research plan linked to the establishment of a marine reserve.
For a PDF of the full report, see Downloads above