PhD: Implications of coral reef degradation for fisheries
Room B46, LEC 3
Lancaster Environment Centre
Mark is an Envision DTP funded PhD student at the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC). He completed his BSc Marine Biology and MRes Applied Marine & Fisheries Ecology degrees at the University of Aberdeen. He worked as a fisheries technician at the NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland for six years, where he was involved in stock assessment work for a range of shellfish and finfish species. Having also taken part in voluntary coral conservation expeditions in Tobago, Cambodia and the Philippines, Mark decided to undertake a PhD that combined his previous experiences, investigating how the effects of climate change impact coral reef fisheries.
Mark’s PhD project is entitled “Implications of coral reef degradation for fisheries” and is supervised by Nick Graham and Christina Hicks at LEC and Aaron MacNeil at Dalhousie University in Canada. His research involves studying how climate change affects coral reefs and the fish populations they support, and how these effects impact the fishing communities that rely on these resources. The project consists of a multidisciplinary approach, using data collected from underwater reef surveys, landings information from small-scale reef fisheries and interviews with local fishers. The aims of the project are to investigate the following research questions: 1) how exploited fish stocks respond to various levels of reef degradation, 2) the spatiotemporal trends in fish landings in response to reef habitat condition, 3) how local fishers perceive impacts on their fishing activity in relation to coral reef habitat. Mark is interested in producing results that are relevant to the management of reef fisheries and promote the ecological and socioeconomical sustainability of coral reef ecosystems.
Previous studies Mark has completed include investigating the views of artisanal fishers towards marine protected areas in Cambodia and the Philippines during his undergraduate honours project. His master’s thesis investigated the effects of oceanographic variables on commercial crab and lobster landings from creel fisheries in Shetland.