Expedition: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

This week I am packing my bags in anticipation of my trip to Brazil. Over the next month I will be working in the remote oceanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, supported by the Ciência sem Fronteiras programme of CAPES. I will be updating my Voices Blog regularly every few days with updates of the exciting research, science and conservation going on upon this scarcely documented part of the world, as well as my own intrepid adventures there. As well as the typical plight of introduced cats, rats and mice on the island, there are also more uniquely peculiar threats such as the introduced rock cavy and tegu lizards, themselves natives to continental Brazil but foreigners to the island. All this spells bad news for this seabird stronghold in the Atlantic Ocean, but a great opportunity for some island conservation.

English map of Fernando de Noronha fortifications, printed in 1793, but based on another survey conducted in 1760.

My first port of call will be São Paulo after an international flight which interestingly is one of the few in the world to have no emergency landings en route (the only land mass between New Zealand and South America is Easter Island, not really somewhere to land a large plane). In São Paulo I will meet the team of researchers from the Brazilian Institute for Conservation Medicine (TRÍADE) and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of São Paulo who have together already established a research programme on the island and were generous enough to invite me to participate in their field expeditions for the next three years. There I will learn about their work so far, and share my own experiences from other remote island groups around the world (such as the Mozambique Channel). After that we will head out to Fernando de Noronha for a field season.

Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Conservation biologist Dr. James Russell works throughout the world on remote islands and other sites to provide conservation solutions by applying a combination of scientific methods. Follow James on National Geographic voices for regular updates on his own work or other exciting developments in island conservation.