Gareth Williams BSc. MSc. Ph.D.

Bangor University


My current research focusses on the effects natural gradients in primary production have on coral reef ecosystem structure, function, and resilience.

Specifically, I am investigating how patterns of upwelling around the Chagos Archipelago are linked to food availability for organisms such as corals, algae and the microbial communities that inhabit the reef.

In order to answer this question, I will combine in-water ecological surveys, satellite derived data, next generation sequencing, as well as isotope chemistry and collaborate with numerous researchers in these fields.

Remote coral reef islands and atolls allow us to study coral reef ecosystem dynamics in the absence of confounding local human impacts, acting as benchmarks for natural variation and highlighting the impacts of global climate change on these biodiverse systems.

Gareth Williams


2018 Present
Associate Professor in Marine Biology, Bangor University, UK
2015 2018
Assistant Professor in Marine Biology, Bangor University, UK
2013 2015
Assistant Project Scientist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA
2010 2013
Postdoctoral Researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA
2007 2010
Ph.D. student, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

My Project

  • Island Reef Connections
    Monitoring Coral Reefs in the Indian Ocean

Other interests

I am a marine ecologist specializing in coral reef ecology. My work often takes a macroecological approach when examining the interaction between organisms and their environment. Moreover, I am particularly interested in how the interaction between human activities and natural biophysical gradients drives community patterns across multiple trohpic levels (microbes to sharks) and scales (individual reefs to entire ocean basins).

Much of my work involves remote coral reefs free from direct human impact, it provides key replication at the unimpacted end of an intact-to-degraded ecosystem spectrum. Surveying across wide geographical areas allows us to address broad questions relating to: the human, climatic and oceanographic drivers of coral reef ecosystem structure and function; climate change impacts to coral reef ecosystems; the spatial ecology of coral reefs; and disease dynamics on coral reefs.

My Publications