Ia Ora Na
Season’s Greetings from Tetiaroa.

As the decade comes to a close, and another one is on the horizon, it is time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.

Tetiaroa Society was created in mid-2015 and since that time it has grown into an organization that is making huge strides in facilitating cutting edge science, providing education to local and international school children, and protecting the atoll. Research and Conservation programs this year included the ongoing Ocean Acidification Study, Green Sea Turtle Monitoring and Research, the Innovative Mosquito Control Research Program, a Seabird Population Study, a Food Web Study looking at fish gut content, and the Tetiaroa Atoll Restoration Project. The Education Program is now at capacity and schools are lining up to have their students visit the island. The Guide Program did more tours this year than ever, introducing The Brando guests to the wonders of Tetiaroa.

This year also saw Tetiaroa Society gaining global recognition. TS was awarded the Eco-Organization of the Year Award by EarthX Dallas on Earth Day, and was invited to the United Nations for World Ocean Day. In the Pacific, we hosted a visit of high-ranking politicians from 14 Pacific Islands.

Looking forward to the next decade is exciting. The launch of the Tetiaroa Atoll Restoration Project guarantees many years of fascinating revelations as we watch the island and its coral reef adjust towards its natural state. We are also closing in on our Island Earth Summit planned for 2021 which will bring together great minds to address some of the greatest challenges of our time.

The growth and successes of Tetiaroa Society could not have been achieved if it were not for the support of our partners and donors. To all of you we offer our heartfelt gratitude and we wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a great New Year.

Stan Rowland
Chairman & President
Frank Murphy
Executive Director

Coral Reefs – Ecosystem of the Decade

Given that this is the last newsletter of 2019, we thought we should expand our Organism of the Month column in both scope and time. So, this month we are focusing on Coral Reefs as the Ecosystem of the Decade. This is timely on both a global and local scale, as coral reefs face unprecedented peril around the world from climate change, and TS is initiating a major conservation program to enhance the health of the reef system that sustains Tetiaroa.

Anything we can do on Tetiaroa to reestablish natural ecosystems and minimize non-climate impacts such as pollution and overfishing, will prepare an already healthy coral reef for the future.

As befits the designation of Tetiaroa as a Hope Spot earlier this year by Mission Blue, Tetiaroa will indeed carry the hope of coral reef survival into the next decade and beyond.

Read more about coral reefs

Mapping culture

Guillaume Molle and his team were on Tetiaroa last month to complete Phase One of the Archaeology Research Program. Long days were spent in the field working through dense motu vegetation to find and/or confirm sites over half the island. Hear what Guillaume has to say in his interview here.

More about archaeological research

Message in a Bottle

Green Sea Turtles make annual migrations as long as 1,250 miles (2000 kilometers) to nest on Tetiaroa. The research team from Te Mana o te Moana also put in many kilometers walking the shores of Tetiaroa looking for Green Sea Turtle tracks on a beach that will lead them to a nesting site. One day this month a Te Mana o te Moana volunteer, Simon Pointis, found something on the beach that had made a much longer journey than any of the turtles that he was looking for.

When he followed a turtle track to a nesting site high on the beach he found a wine bottle with a note inside. When he opened it and put the soggy paper scraps back together he found that it had travelled at least 4,500 miles (7,200 km) in 10.5 years, originally tossed into the water 400 miles (650 km) offshore of Ecuador by a German research team studying zooplankton movement. What an amazing coincidence that the next person who encountered that bottle was also involved in field research. Of nine bottles deployed this was only the second one that has been found. Way to go Simon!

Meet Mareva

TS welcomes Mareva Barbeau as the newest member of our Guide Team. Mareva grew up on Moorea and comes with an academic background in Biodiversity and lots of travel adventures.

An open letter to our supporters...

Dear Friends of Tetiaroa Society,

As wildfires and coral bleaching devastated even the wealthiest of places in 2019, the impacts of climate change are coming starkly into focus. With indications of the impending human and ecological disaster from global warming evident now from California to Australia, the task can seem overwhelming. Apart from lobbying governments to ramp up more than their rhetoric, what can be done?

We are writing to you about one action that could help prevent the collapse of one of the planet's richest and most important ecosystems: coral reefs. French Polynesia has been identified as one of the regions where corals are still relatively intact and stand a chance of making it through the century. But we need to maximize their capacity to withstand the coming 'storm'. Scientists and conservation agencies are excited about one new approach and we have a unique opportunity on Tetiaroa to demonstrate its efficacy.

In 2020, we are launching a major program to restore Tetiaroa’s native seabird populations, establish the atoll as a sanctuary for translocating endangered terrestrial birds, and scientifically demonstrate how invasive rodent eradication can enhance coral reef resilience to the climate emergency.

Invasive species are a leading cause of extinctions and biodiversity loss around the world. By eradicating invasive, non-native species – introduced primarily by humans – we can help prevent extinctions and protect natural biodiversity. This is well established. But now we have an opportunity to go further.

There is strong evidence to expect significant increase in coral reef resilience due to the restoration of natural levels of nutrient cycling through rat eradication and the resultant increase in seabird populations. With the scientific capacity on Tetiaroa, we have a chance to conclusively demonstrate that rat eradication represents a valuable new tool to improve the resiliency of coral reefs to warming waters and ocean acidification.

We are exceptionally well placed to mobilize the necessary team of local and international scientists. We already have a team of over 20 scientists to validate the concept and, importantly, help scale it worldwide.

This opportunity has been made possible by two of the largest donations we have ever received. Richard Bailey, President of Pacific Beachcomber, has committed $450,000 in matching funds.

Island Conservation, the world’s foremost organization in preventing island extinctions, is providing another $100,000.

We are now seeking $250,000 by year end. We hope you will join us in this effort by contributing to this important project by year end. Donations of any amount are very much appreciated. You can contribute either online at tetiaroasociety.org or by check sent to Tetiaroa Society, c/o David J. Seeley, PO Box 908, Kirkland, WA 98083-0908.

Thank you for your continued friendship and support.
All the best,

Stan Rowland
Chairman & President
Frank Murphy
Executive Director

Donations in action

Tetiaroa Society receives generous support from The Brando for our core operations, but our ability to carry out innovative programs depends on your help -- any amount is appreciated!


Share the beauty of Tetiaroa

Tetiaroa Society is a US registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID #45-1080688). We host scientific research, develop and implement conservation and education programs, and curate the island's knowledge base. We partner with The Brando to establish Tetiaroa as a model for sustainability, where businesses, non-profits, scientists, educators and the local community work together for common goals. Our program objectives are summarized in our Conservation and Sustainable Use Plan, which is available on our website.

© 2019 Tetiaroa Society
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