Area: Coral Reef Ecology
Abstract of Research: As a coral reef ecologist I am interested in the dynamics of reef populations, interactions between reef organisms and how these interactions are modified by physical forcing and man. As Coordinator for Research for the US Virgin Islands Coral Reef Monitoring Program I seek to conduct investigations and form collaborations which strengthen our understanding of the workings and fates of coral reefs both here and abroad. My current research focuses on the ecological effects of bleaching events, terrestrial input and upwelling. My approach is to conduct innovative research using a multidisciplinary approach combining reef monitoring, physical oceanography, watershed studies and statistically based experiments in an effort to identify the most critical factors increasing and allaying reef stress. This not only involves more accurate monitoring of factors potentially impacting reefs, but a better understanding of the detectible responses of reef organisms, i.e. bioindicators, and the meaning of these bioindicators to the trajectory and composition of reef communities over time. My desire is to continue both basic and applied ecological research that adds to our knowledge of reef systems and provides strategies for reef protection.