|Date||18 Nov 2015|
Coral reefs in the Maldives are some of the more diverse reefs of the western Indian Ocean, nevertheless they are highly vulnerable to climate change and are exposed to high levels of human stress but yet they are overlooked. In 1998 Maldivian reefs have been severely affected by an intense bleaching event that reduced coral coverage by more than 80%. The recovery rate after this event has been variable both in terms of coral cover and return to the original coral community composition. Understanding the potential of reef recovery is paramount for the appropriate management of Maldivian reefs.
The aim of this novel project is to identify reefs with greater recovery capacity in the Maldives in order to enhance their conservation. More specifically, this study will investigate whether recovery potential vary among reefs with different population levels and under different management regimes. Coral cover will be monitored in sites where historical data on coral population dynamics are available. Following the mass bleaching event in 1998 the Marine Research Centre (MRC, research branch of the Maldives Ministry of Fishery and Agriculture) has been surveying coral cover in long-term monitoring sites within the country. Access to historical information provides a unique opportunity to better understand the recovery patterns of the monitored reefs.
Findings from this project will inform managers on reefs with greater recovery capacity so that management resources can be allocated accordingly. In addition to the research conducted we plan to engage citizen scientists and local communities in the research being conducted; instilling longevity to the project after the funding has finished. This will involve local scientists from Male’ who will work with island communities to collect data on coral reefs.
For further information contact: