Anne Sheppard MA.

Institution:
University of Warwick

Profile

Our ongoing study examines the changes in coral cover and major benthic components, as well as juvenile recruitment and seawater temperature.

Charles Sheppard and I have been working on a long-term program monitoring the health of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) reefs since 1978. Various reef have been monitored through different warming and mortality events. Therefore, tracking the reefs response to these environmental stressors, affecting coals reefs worldwide, is key for establishing a pattern in the absence of other and more direct anthropogenic impacts. We also monitor, the gross seawater temperature rise, as well as the length of the various spikes in temperature that are lethal to corals.

A recent suggestion states that some Acropora table corals survive beaching episodes and regrow new colonies from the surviving polyps.  Sadly, initial results of my research show that survivorship rarely occurs. The new colonies are in fact newly settled polyps only (which are reduced in number along with numbers of the adults). Nonetheless, we have ascertained that adults on the periphery of large corals do survive: Faviids and Porites especially have shown such survivorship.

The ongoing health of the corals which build the reefs is fundamental to the continued existence of the whole complex, diverse reef ecosystem, upon which so much depends.

Anne Sheppard

Biography

2017 Present
Research participant in the Berterelli Programme in Marine Science.
2009 Present
Research Associate at the University of Warwick in the School of Life Sciences.
2006 Present
Participated as a research scientist on 12 research expeditions to the Chagos Archipelago.
2017 2017
Prepared a series of over 100 maps using the GIS software ArcMap for the Elsevier publication World Seas
2015 2015
Wrote the book Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Seas for the British Museum Natural History to accompany the exhibition of the same name.
2014 2014
Member of the research team assessing the condition of the corals in Diego Garcia lagoon, British Indian Ocean Territory.
2012 2017
Editor of the Chagos Conservation Trust’s journal.
2010 2017
Trustee for the Chagos Conservation Trust

My Project

  • Coral Reef Resilience
    Monitoring Coral Reefs in the British Indian Ocean Territory

Other interests

As part of the ecological evaluation of BIOT reef I also studied the distribution ecology of the molluscan fauna, the first such research carried out in that group of animals worldwide.

Photographic records of the reef over time and documenting the changes to it are an important adjunct to the data as they highlight, often very graphically the shocking changes to the reefs.  They are also important for outreach and educational material.  I have been photographing the BIOT reefs since 1978.

I am also the project co-director on a coral reef restoration programme at Bundegi Reef in the World Heritage Ningaloo Reef area of Western Australia.  This aims to carry out the restoration of a locally important reef that was destroyed by a cyclone in 1999.

My Publications