My current research in Chagos is focused on quantifying the biological carbonate budgets of reefs in different habitats around the archipelago. I am continuing research aimed at understanding the dynamics of reef budget change and recovery post-bleaching, but am also now strongly focused on exploring the sedimentary links between the reefs and low-lying islands, and the potential for rat eradication to enhance reef-building and island sediment supply. Central to this research continues to be the collection of novel empirical data on area-specific rates of coral and coralline algae calcification, and on biological erosion – metrics that are essential for improving budget calculations.
In an era of rapidly changing marine environmental conditions, there is an urgent need to better understand and predict how rates of reef-building and sediment supply may change – quantifying the rates at which reef taxa produce and erode calcium carbonate provide us with a powerful tool for measuring these functions.
Sentinel Species ResearchImplications of nutrient flow and feedback across the seabird-island-reef system
Coral Reef ResilienceMonitoring Coral Reefs in the Indian Ocean
My wider research agenda addresses fundamental questions about how different types of coral reef systems and reef islands are responding to environmental and climatic change, but most especially the impacts on rates of coral reef carbonate production and sediment generation. I am interested in these topics because these processes control coral reef growth rates and are integral to the role that reefs play in coastal protection, and fundamentally control the resilience of reef islands and their ability to track rising sea levels.