As with many other biodiverse habitats around the world, tropical reefs are becoming increasingly threatened by human encroachment. Therefore, it is often difficult to determine whether the degradation of reefs is due to global or local impacts.
The islands and atolls of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) comprise one of the largest marine protected areas (MPA) in the world and when combined with their relative remoteness from direct human impacts, the archipelago provides a unique opportunity to study the effects of global climate changes on coral reefs in isolation.
Life is proven to have an inestimable ability to adapt to changing conditions. Indeed, on tropical reefs, with each extreme climatic or bleaching event that occurs, we find that some corals with their complex communities of symbiotic and microscopic partners can seemingly tolerate these changes better than others.
Using the latest genomic and sequencing technologies, we aim to unravel the mystery of why this might be, with a view to ultimately advise policy makers and management agencies as to how we might preserve these reefs for future generations
It’s the absolutely bewildering complexity and biological diversity of corals that excites the scientist in me – to float above a healthy reef and gaze down on the myriad of interactions ongoing between corals and their manifold (and overwhelmingly invisible) associates is to realise how much we still have to learn.
Coral Reef ResilienceMonitoring Coral Reefs in the British Indian Ocean Territory
Coral Reef ResilienceThe Conservation Value of Coral Reef Biodiversity for the BIOT MPA