Sustainable poverty alleviation from coastal ecosystem services (SPACES). The aim of this NERC-ESPA-DFiD: Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme Grant is to assess the links between coastal ecosystem functionality and "health" and the wellbeing of poor inhabitants along the rapidly transforming coastal areas of Mozambique and Kenya. speifically, the research aims to provide evidence to inform strategies to support sector development (e.g. fisheries, coastal planning and tourism development) and methods to understand and evaluate impacts of different development interventions - e.g. through tradeoff analysis and evaluation of the elasticities between ecosystem services and wellbeing. Within our group we are leading on a Work Package that is examining the "health" and status of the regions coral reefs and associated fisheries as a key step in a series of ecosystem service chains. This data will feed into an extensive array of socio-economic data being collected by a wide range of researchers from Africa and the EU. 2014-2016. Major Collaborators on this Work Package include: Prof Kate Brown (Exeter), Dr Tim Daw Stockholm) and Dr Tim McClanahan (WWF, Kenya).
Quantifying marine carbonate production by fish along tropical to temperate gradients. The aim of this NERC-funded project is to quantify the nature and significance of fish-derived carbonate sediment production across tropical to cool temperate carbonate provinces, and to utilise this data to model the production of different sedimentary carbonate phases at regional and global scales. This work will help to resolve key questions about the global scale significance of fish carbonate sediment production (as a newly discovered source of marine carbonate), and thus to derive datasets that can be used to more fully understand a key facet of the marine carbon cycle, namely the sources and fate of fine-grained neritic carbonates. Research is being conducted at five sites across a range of latitudes from 14o to 43oS along the eastern coastline of Australia, and will utilise a unique existing dataset on regional fish population structure and biomass from > 400 sites along this coastline to model latitudinal variations in rates and phases of carbonate sediment production. The latitudinal gradient under study is accompanied by a marked gradient in sea-surface temperature (SST), with a maximum annual SST range from ~30oC to ~12oC, and by a transition from tropical through sub-tropical and warm temperate, to cool temperate carbonate sedimentary provinces, and an associated transition in fish species abundance and diversity. NERC Grant NE/K003143/1 (2013-2017). Collaborators: Dr Rod Wilson (Exeter), Prof. Simon Jennings (Cefas), Dr Al Harborne (U. Queensland), Dr Rick Stuart-Smith (U. Tasmania).
Mapping the hidden shallows: Inner-shelf reef growth on the Great Barrier Reef. This NERC-funded research builds directly upon a body of recent research that has significantly expanded our understanding of coral reef growth within nearshore marine environments - settings in which coral reefs are regarded as being 'most at risk' from land-based sediment and nutrient inputs. In this new project we are utilising the approaches developed in our previous studies to address more applied questions of direct relevance to projecting future reef growth potential in these environments: (i) How fast have inner-shelf reefs grown in the past?; (ii) What implications does this, and their current geomorphic state, have for their future growth trajectories?; and (iii) How do future trajectories of reef growth vary across regional spatial scales? These questions have direct long-term management relevance because reef geomorphology is one of the key factors that controls the extent and diversity of present reef habitats, but also strongly influences the timescales over which reef-scale habitat complexity will change in the future. The project is using as a case site the inner-shelf region of Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR), with a specific focus on the shallow water reefs and coral carpets in the central areas of Halifax Bay. NERC Grant NE/J023329/1 (2013-2016). Collaborators: Assoc. Prof Scott Smithers and Dr James Daniell (James Cook University).
Constraining reef-reef island sediment linkages: towards integrated physical-social assessments of reef island resilience. Linked to on-going work to better understand the development and formation of coral reef islands, we are undertaking a programme of methodological development and testing through pilot project funding from the Exeter Climate Change and Sustainable Futures fund. Working around the island of Vakkaru in the Maldives this work has integrated census based studies of key sediment producers and subsequent analysis of reef sediment samples to explore the nature of these links, and to develop field based approaches to support wider regional assessments. Collaborator: Prof Paul Kench (U. Auckland).