I study ecological connectivity and land-sea nutrient cycling around the islands of Te Ao Mā’ohi (French Polynesia) using a combination of landscape ecology theory, stable isotope analyses, and GIS-based approaches. My PhD work in Te Ao Mā’ohi builds upon foundational, Bertarelli-supported research conducted by project partners in the Seychelles and Chagos Archipelagos.
I couple stable isotope analyses of macroalgal samples with snorkel-based transect surveys of benthic cover and fish assemblages to evaluate hypothesized relationships between land-sea nutrient sources and flows, macroalgal distributions, and spatial patterns of reef fish biomass and biodiversity. Using these data, I map and model spatial patterns of productivity and vulnerability with the goal of supporting adaptive management planning and island ecosystem resilience.
The importance of considering surrounding seascape context and connectivity is not limited to the protection and conservation of existing ecosystems, but also to the restoration of degraded and fragmented habitats.
Island Reef ConnectionsImplications of Nutrient Flow and Feedback Across the Seabird-Island-Reef System