Nicola Foster Ph.D.

Institution:
University of Plymouth

Profile

As part of a multi-disciplinary project, I am investigating the changes in diversity and distribution of mesophotic reefs in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), in relation to depth and oceanographic drivers.

Tropical coral reefs represent one of the most important, iconic and diverse marine ecosystems, supporting a variety of human needs, from fisheries and tourism to shoreline protection. Unfortunately, coral reefs are in crisis from a combination of the effects of climate change and direct man-made pressure.

Deep reefs can harbour unique biodiversity and may provide a refuge from the effects of increased temperature for shallow-water coral reef species. However, mesophotic reefs being relatively unexplored, data on the distribution and diversity of these reefs are lacking on both a regional and global scale.

It is critical that we increase our understanding of mesophotic reefs and their role in supporting shallow-water coral reefs. I will be assessing the genetic connectivity of sessile reef species across the depth gradient from shallow to mesophotic depths to determine the potential of mesophotic reefs to resupply shallow reefs with larvae following mortality.

Mesophotic coral ecosystems are truly fascinating. They are relatively unexplored and we have so much to learn about their diversity and ecology.

Nicola Foster

Biography

2019 Present
Research Fellow, School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth
2015 2019
NERC Postdoctoral Researcher, DeepLinks Project, School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth
2013 2014
Associate Lecturer, School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth
2010 2015
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth
2009 2010
Senior Marine Biologist, Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, Punta Gorda, Belize
2008 2009
Associate Research Fellow, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter
2003 2007
Ph.D. Student in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Exeter

My Projects

  • Sentinel Species Research
    Reef Manta Rays in the British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Coral Reef Resilience
    Mesophotic Reefs in the British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Coral Reef Resilience
    Internal Waves as an Oceanographic Driver of Ecosystem Variability

Other interests

Alongside my work in BIOT, I am interested in how patterns of species diversity and population connectivity vary with depth in the deep sea. I am also involved in the use of molecular and modelling techniques to inform conservation and management of the marine environment.