Ruth Dunn PhD.

Lancaster University, REEFS


I am researching the influence of seabirds and their guano on coral reefs within the Chagos Archipelago.

Seabirds consume prey within oceanic feeding areas and transfer these nutrients back to their land-based breeding colonies and neighbouring coral reefs. The consequences of these seabird-derived nutrients include enhanced coral reef productivity, boosted fish biomass, and improved ecosystem functioning.
I am interested in evaluating the relative contribution of these natural seabird nutrient subsidies in comparison to oceanic nutrient inputs.
I am also researching the potential for the entire archipelago to support seabird populations, should rats be eradicated across all islands, and native vegetation be restored. I want to investigate what the influence of this habitat restoration could be for both seabird populations as well as the ecology of the coral reefs that surround their breeding colonies.

Seabirds are a highly threatened group of species that play an important roles in ecological connectivity that we are only just beginning to understand.

Ruth Dunn


2021 Present
Senior Research Associate (coral reef ecology), Lancaster University
2020 2021
Postdoctoral Associate (shark ecology), Florida International University
2016 2020
PhD in Marine Ecology, University of Liverpool

Birds Without Borders or Isolated Islands? Connectivity of Western Indian Ocean Seabirds
Implications of Nutrient Flow and Feedback Across the Seabird-Island-Reef System

Other Interests

Broadly, I enjoy researching the ecology and conservation biology of marine top predators and the influence that they exert on both tropical and temperate systems.