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Other Scientists

Research Scientist
Associate Prof.
Ph.D. Student

The Conservation Value of Coral Reef Biodiversity for the BIOT MPA

Principal Investigators
Other Scientists

Project Overview

Our project aims to identify hotspots of reef biodiversity and productivity, and networks of connectivity on the reefs as well as understanding the drivers underpinning such patterns.

In 2015 the third major bleaching event struck corals reefs globally. According to previous records this was the longest, most widespread and damaging event ever to occur. Unfortunately, both in 2015 and 2016 the British Indian Ocean Territory’s (BIOT) Marine Protected Area (MPA) was not spared and suffered from back-to-back abnormally high temperatures resulting in severe bleaching and subsequent coral mortality across the whole archipelago.

BIOT’s coral reefs are already showing signs of recovery as juvenile corals appear on the bare skeletons of dead colonies, which are believed to be driven by a high connectivity between atolls. To fully understand these patterns of recovery, we are investigating the population structure of corals across BIOT using genomic techniques. Moreover, we are interested in studying hydrodynamics and temperature regimes surround the archipelago’s reefs in order to better understand the drivers of larval dispersal, population structure and coral reef resilience.

In this region, there is an important proportion of developing countries that directly depend on coral reefs for their citizens’ livelihoods, food security and coastal protection. Yet, the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean are understudied when compared to other regions.

Coral reefs with fewer human impacts and healthy and diverse fish populations recover more quickly from both natural and man-made disturbance events.

The Coral Reef team

Key Facts

20%
of corals worldwide are bleached
25%
of all marine life lives in coral reefs
500 Million
people rely on coral reefs for food, coastal protection, livelihoods.

News

  • The Heat is on for the Survival of BIOT’s Coral Reefs
  • UN: Overfishing and Climate Change are Main Threats to Marine Biodiversity
  • Research is Essential to Maximise Benefits of Marine Protected Areas
  • Rat Eradication on Ile Vache Marine: A Success!

Publications