The production and maintenance of complex calcium carbonate structure is a critical function of a healthy coral reef. It provides habitat for numerous marine species and acts as a breakwater that dissipates wave energy and protects shorelines. The build-up of reef framework, or a reef’s carbonate budget, is driven by counteracting rates of calcium carbonate production (i.e., calcification) and calcium carbonate breakdown and loss (i.e., dissolution, bioerosion, off-reef transport). Disturbances to this fragile balance can have disastrous effects on a reef’s geo-ecological functions.
Besides tracking the process of degradation and recovery of the reef structure and its functions over time, I quantify rates of calcification (e.g., coral growth, crustose coralline algal calcification) and bioerosion (e.g., endolithic erosion, parrotfish erosion) specific to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). This enables me to improve local budget estimates and to support other indicators of functional reef health.
In collaboration with other BIOT researchers I am also comparing different approaches to quantify reef growth and reef loss processes in order to extend the applications of carbonate budget states.
Coral reefs worldwide are deteriorating at an alarming rate. It is more vital than ever to monitor, predict and protect reef health and reef functions to aid their survival.
Coral Reef ResilienceMonitoring Coral Reefs in the British Indian Ocean Territory
I am generally interested in the response of coral reef ecosystems to high natural variability in environmental conditions and anthropogenic disturbances. To investigate these questions I look at ecological, physiological and geomorphological parameters.
I love to use diving as a tool for science and also try to improve my underwater photography skills.