reef community metabolism
coral reef inorganic carbon sequestration
coral reef ecology
I am a PhD student at the University of Glasgow investigating the carbon sequestration and carbon repository properties of Caribbean coral reefs. My fieldwork is in Quintana Roo, Mexico, where I worked for 3 years prior to joining the University of Glasgow, as a lead researcher and program manager for a reef conservation organisation. As part of my PhD research I continue to collaborate with the Integrative Reef Conservation Research Laboratory at the Reef Systems Academic Unit of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and with fieldwork partners Operation Wallacea Akumal marine research site. In 2013 I graduated from the University of St Andrews in Marine Biology.
Active research projects:
My PhD research measures coral reef community metabolism (photosynthesis, respiration and calcification) to evaluate the contribution of healthy vs. degraded reefs to the global carbon cycle and how this may change under global climate change. I use novel, non-invasive, incubation chambers to measure physiological processes focussing on four key tropical coral reef groups: (1) Scleractinian Corals, (2) Macroalgae, (3) Turf Algae, and (4) Coralline Crustose Algae. A combination of processes from these organisms drives the sequestration and geochemical cycling of carbon on the reef, e.g., via secretion of calcium carbonate skeleton to form the reef matrix and high rates of photosynthesis of macrophytes. Demonstration of the carbon storage properties of healthy reefs will support restoration of critical reef habitat and guide conservation management in the global climate change context of ocean warming and acidification.