Bryan Wilson Ph.D.

University of Oxford


My research with the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science investigates the biological mechanisms underpinning the resilience and recovery of coral in the face of anthropogenic climate change.

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 Indian Ocean Region’s Chagos Archipelago 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.

Bryan Wilson


2018 Present
Fondation Bertarelli Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Oxford
2014 Present
Reef Conservation UK Committee Member
2014 2018
Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Bergen
2012 2013
Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University Singapore
2008 2011
Smart State Fellow at the Australian Institute of Marine Science

My Project

  • Species Distribution and Ecology
    A Conservation Framework for the Endangered Chagos Brain Coral, Ctenella chagius
  • Island Reef Connections
    Monitoring Coral Reefs in the Indian Ocean
  • Island Reef Connections
    The Conservation Value of Coral Reef Biodiversity for the MPA surrounding the Chagos Archipelago