These include measurements of coral cover, sea temperature, other important benthic groups and numbers of coral juveniles. Performed at several depths and around all atolls. These track and monitor the repeated collapses and recovery of the reefs in the Chagos Archipelago reefs during marine heatwaves and have shown the Chagos Archipelago to contain particularly resilient reefs which previously have recovered well from destructive warming episodes.
I have been instrumental in developing scientists’ interest in the archipelago, building up a now considerable amount of research performed there. I developed this large research programme on islands and reefs through a series of expeditions. I have also written and led several environmental management plans that in turn led to the designation of the Chagos Archipelago as a giant marine protected area.
This work programme was recognized by government assessors as being in the ‘top 20’ out of 7,000 assessed research programmes in the UK. With a long series of magazine articles and public lectures on the Chagos Archipelago, I also have spread the word more widely on the importance of this area and its biodiversity.
The absence of many local, direct impacts makes this one of very few places to determine the effects of climate change on coral reefs, especially rising sea temperature, in the absence of most confounding human impacts.
Coral Reef ResilienceMonitoring Coral Reefs in the Indian Ocean
Of equal focus and output, has been a long period of reef research in the Arabian Area, often but not only as consultant to most Arabian Governments, and numerous marine-impacting industries. Likewise, advisor to several Caribbean island states on tropical scientific marine management issues, such as: effects of damaging activity, speed of ecosystem recovery, consequences of impacts such as food security, shoreline erosion and economic dependence.