Greetings from Tetiaroa

Tetiaroa is a quiet place these days with the fewest people on the island in a decade. French Polynesia has closed its borders to travelers and effectively put a temporary end to tourism. In response, all hotels have closed for business, including The Brando. Most staff have left the island with only a small crew left to provide security and maintenance. Tetiaroa Society has followed suit to some extent, but as stewards of the island our job continues even in these difficult times. Some of the staff have headed home to be with families in Tahiti, Moorea, and Huahine. The rest are still in place, riding out this storm in the protective embrace of Tetiaroa.

All of us will keep on working, however, as there is plenty to do despite the situation. Our team on the island includes our resident scientist David Ringler (you met him in our last newsletter) who will lead our staff in surveying arthropods and restoration fieldwork. Our rangers will continue to provide security and our guides off-island will work together remotely on a variety of projects including developing new Lagoon School and education curriculum.  But of course, the work is just not the same without people to share it with. Like everyone we look forward to the time with the resort reopens and guests return, and school children explore the beaches again.

While dealing with today’s challenges, we also want to have an eye on the future, and so are providing below a short article about one of the ways the ocean might help us avoid or minimize another potential crisis.

On behalf of all of us at Tetiaroa Society, we wish you all the best during these hard times.


Frank Murphy
Executive Director

Looking to the Future

Dear Friends,

As we are struggling with the chaos created by Covid-19 and scientists around the world are scrambling to find a vaccine, it is prudent to think about what we can do to avoid the next pandemic.  As we have learned through history, the greatest solutions are often found in nature - which continually builds upon millions of years of experimentation. 

Biotech researchers and pharmaceutical companies are well aware of the immense value of nature-based solutions, often looking to nature for keys to solving medical challenges.  One of the sources for many solutions, and one many of us believe holds the greatest potential for future solutions, is our oceans - including the radically different, unimaginably strange, and yet largely unexplored ocean depths.  

So looking towards future solutions, we want to provide you a copy of a timely article on this topic written by development economist Nishan Degnarain:

We think you will find Nishan’s thoughtful piece, written with the assistance of infectious disease researcher Dr. Louis Metzger (who focuses on new antimicrobial molecules for drug discovery) both interesting and informative.  Nishan and Louis note:

red algae griffithsia“Marine genetic resources are … irreplaceable products of nature that play a critical role in modern medicine and industrial processes today.  Take a look at any major disease and often the highest potential treatments have their origin in a marine natural product…. The current coronavirus crisis shows just how important it is to have a library of deep ocean natural resources, including deep ocean microbial communities.  It is critical to ensure we have a large enough repository of natural product targets to be prepared for the next health pandemic crisis.” 

Today we need to focus on today’s growing crisis and tend to those in need.  But once we begin emerging from this crisis, let's think about preparing for the future and make sure we don’t toss away the keys that may unlock the solution to the next pandemic.

Stay healthy,


Stan Rowland
Chairman and President

Tetiaroa Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to scientific research, conservation and education. With research facilities in French Polynesia, we work collaboratively with leading scientists and environmental organizations around the world and with the generous support of The Brando and other supporters committed to solving environmental challenges.

© Tetiaroa Society 2020