My research aims to gain a better understanding of marine ecosystems in order to inform ecological theory and support effective reef management. Specifically, my recent research focusses on the development of emerging image-based technologies to assess changes in coral reef physical structure, community structure, and health through time. This work links into the assessment of the longer-term effects of climatic disturbance on reef structure and function.
The last few decades have seen a considerable increase in the both the range of digital technologies and computing power available for research. In the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) the use of virtual models has enabled us to digitally capture the complexity of reef physical structure and to quantify in detail the morphological changes taking place.
Marine researchers now have the unique opportunity to take advantage of rapid recent advances in digital technology and computing power in order to view and analyse the underwater world in ways which were never before possible.
Coral Reef ResilienceMonitoring Coral Reefs in the British Indian Ocean Territory
Alongside my work with the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science, I conduct research on shallow reefs across the Indo-Pacific. I work with ZSL on Project Seahorse (Philippines) assessing the efficacy of small-scale community-run Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) designed to enhance reef fish abundance and reef resilience to human impacts. I also work on the Biome Health Project (Fiji) which aims to determine how biodiversity responds to human pressures across four major biomes, and see how conservation interventions can be used to reduce the impacts of man-made pressures.
Aside from tropical reef systems, I work on temperate (UK) and sub-polar (Falkland Islands) marine systems to develop the evidence base for designation of MPAs and to inform future environmental management of these areas.
I am also a member of the Education and Communication committees for the International Coral Reef Society, which work to foster environmental education and public awareness activities about coral reefs, and develop ways in which the Society’s membership and expertise may be used to support effective environmental education.