A Conservation Conversation with Eddie Beetham
We do our best to embed sustainability, care for the environment, and conservation into everything we do, and, for some of us at T+T, it’s not just at work but in our spare time as well!
Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa (Conservation Week) is well underway, and T+T Coastal Scientist Eddie Beetham, together with his wife Tracey Turner started Blueseekers, a team passionate about coral reef conservation, coastal science, and the marine environment.
Eddie shares his thoughts and experience with Blueseekers below:
Tracey and I started Blueseekers as a way to share field stories from our adventures researching coral reefs while we were at university. We both have a background in coastal science and are passionate about the marine environment.
We started visiting a small research station in the southern Maldives in 2016 to investigate the dynamics between reef ecology, geomorphology, and environmental forces. The reefs appeared vibrant, healthy, and full of life. A few months later, there was a global coral bleaching event, resulting from warmer than normal sea surface temperatures throughout the tropics. We heard rumours of coral bleaching at our field sites, but nothing could have prepared us for the reality of what we saw when we returned. The reef was monochrome and dominated by swathes of branching coral skeletons.
The experience of witnessing such dramatic and universal change across our field sites made us want to share why these systems are so important; and how vulnerable they are to climate change. We decided to start sharing our research, in the hope that it would raise awareness of our reliance on natural ecosystems; and empower people to take action to protect our natural life support systems.
We aim to undertake and highlight research that can be used to inform effective conservation outcomes, and to communicate scientific research and ideas in a way that inspires people to reconnect with the natural world.
To date, our efforts have focused on coral reefs and the system scale impacts of climate change. In February 2020, we visited the southern Maldives to document some of the research our university colleagues are undertaking. Too often, research gets trapped in the “academic vault” and we look forward to sharing what Kiwi researchers are up to in this space soon on our blog.
For anyone interested in conservation, our tips are:
- Focus on something you are passionate about – if you love something you are more likely to want to understand how it works and to look after it.
- Join forces with others to share skills and efforts.
- Have a clear goal – do you want to achieve a short-term or long-term objective; and at what scale (e.g. local, regional or global)?
- Ensure your efforts are backed up by the best available science.
For more on Blueseekers, check out their webpage.