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  • Writer's pictureLaura Beasley

Meet the Gough 64 Team!

Updated: Nov 9, 2018

After saying goodbye to the 2017-18 Gough 63 team of Fabrice, Kate and Jaimie, we say hello to the 2018-19 Gough 64 team!

Chris, Michelle and Alexis are a team of experienced seabird scientists, all having caught the ‘Gough bug’ and now returning to the island for a second time!

Blog by the Gough 64 team

The three of us knew each other before coming to Gough and as we all have remote island experience, we obviously knew what we were getting into. Michelle and I (Chris) first spent a year on Gough during the 2014/15 season. Since then we have been busy travelling and doing fieldwork in other beautiful spots, we also got married along the way. We first met Alexis on sub-Antarctic Marion Island in April 2017. We discussed the prospect of spending a year on Gough together in early 2018, decided to apply together for the 2018/19 season and the rest is history.

(left-right) Alexis, Michelle and Chris - the Gough 64 team - approaching Gough Island on the SA Aghullas II (C.Jones)
Alexis, Michelle and Chris - the Gough 64 team - approaching Gough Island on the SA Aghullas II (C.Jones)

Christopher Jones – Senior Field Assistant

I have had the opportunity to visit and work on a number of beautiful oceanic islands. People often ask me: what is my favourite island? I always say Gough Island. Not only because Gough is one of the most pristine and important seabird islands in the world, it was also the place where my career as a researcher really began, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

Since leaving Gough in 2015 I have worked on several islands in Seychelles, completed a 13 month expedition on Marion Island as well as completed my Masters thesis which focused on the ecology of the two Prion species breeding on Gough. Arriving back to Gough has sprung up so many fond memories and familiarities; this island is just as special as I remember.

Aside from looking forward to a successful field season collecting valuable ecological data for the RSPB, I am looking forward to exploring the island again and perhaps visiting parts of Gough that I did not see last time. I have brought more camera equipment this time, so I am keen to capture and share the beauty of Gough with you through images and video on our blogs and social media.

Michelle Risi – Field Assistant

It’s a weird feeling when one of the remotest islands in the world feels more like home than the civilized world. I am very excited to be back on Gough Island.

After completing my M.Sc. in 2014, Gough was where my love of island seabird fieldwork was kick started. Since overwintering on Gough in 2014-2015 I have worked as a field biologist in the Seychelles and on Marion Island. Returning to my first island home is a great privilege, as it is a UNSECO world heritage site and is closed to tourism. I am most excited about exploring parts of the island that I did not get to last time and adding valuable data towards the mouse eradication project. It is a subject very close to my heart having seen the devastating effects that mice have on both Gough and Marion islands. I always take my camera out with me, so look forward to sharing my photos and stories with everyone over the coming year.

Alexis Osborne – Field Assistant

I visited Gough Island last year for a month and immediately fell in love with the beauty that it offers. It was there and then that the idea of spending a year on Gough Island began, I remember visiting Antarctica a month after Gough Island, but for some reason I was still thinking about Gough Island and how to get back.

After spending a year on Marion Island, I never thought I’d call another place “home”, but indeed Gough Island has become “home away from home” for most of us. I’m looking forward to working with these beautiful seabirds, which is such a rare opportunity, and to seeing the complete lifecycles of these birds. Not forgetting the beauty of Gough Island makes for stunning photographs! I am excited to join the RSPB team and look forward to sharing my years adventure on Gough Island with everyone following the project!

Alexis, Michelle and Chris above Admirals on Gough Island (C.Jones)
Alexis, Michelle and Chris above Admirals on Gough Island (C.Jones)

Remember to follow @GoughIsland on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest stories from the island!



The Gough Island Restoration Programme is being carried out by the RSPB in partnership with Tristan da Cunha , BirdLife South Africa and the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa and Island Conservation . The programme is part-funded by the RSPB, the UK Government, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other generous individuals and organisations. If you would like to support our efforts to save the Critically Endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting, please get in touch or you can donate using our online form .

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