Project: The Seascape Ecology of Pacific Coral Reefs
My PhD research addresses how the spatial structure of coral reef benthic communities change over time in response to disturbance, in particular ocean warming events.
I am currently quantifying the spatial patterns in benthic communities around the circumference of 5 remote Pacific islands and atolls, all located in a similar geographic region. By identifying the cover of each benthic organism in thousands of photographs taken of the reef floor around the island, I am building a spatially and taxonomically comprehensive dataset.
My research is influenced by techniques and theories used in the field of Landscape Ecology. I hope to bring new insight into the field of coral reef science through exploring these techniques and theories in a coral reef habitat.
I hope that my research will advance our understanding of the spatial ecology of reefs at unprecedented scales and help to inform the spatial management of coral reefs. This work is useful to the wider community as those trying to protect coral reefs can focus their conservation efforts on areas with the best environmental factors for coral survival. Coral reefs are extremely important for the wider community, for the mental well-being of humans, for the livelihoods of many coastal populations through tourism and fishing as well as acting as natural flood defences.
Room: Nautilus 327
I completed a Bsc in Biology at the University of Sussex, which I steered towards ecology and conservation modules. I completed an MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London, which involved two research projects, one worked with the PREDICTS project database to ask questions about how land use change impacts on biodiversity. Specifically, how this impact may differ depending on the layer of strata in a habitat. My second project involved an in-situ reciprocal translocation experiment off the coast of the Azores to investigate how marine bacterial communities may change community composition with ocean acidification. Before starting my PhD at Bangor I completed an internship with the Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute, where I gained experience in copepod identification, plankton taxonomy and processing benthic video transects.