October 6, 2017

Helen Ford

Helen Ford

PhD: Widening our view of the reef: the landscape ecology of disturbance and recovery on Pacific coral reefs

Bangor University

I completed a Bsc in Biology at the University of Sussex, which I steered towards ecology and conservation modules. I completed an MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London, which involved two research projects, one worked with the PREDICTS project database to ask questions about how land use change impacts on biodiversity. Specifically, how this impact may differ depending on the layer of strata in a habitat. My second project involved an in-situ reciprocal translocation experiment off the coast of the Azores to investigate how marine bacterial communities may change composition with ocean acidification. I recently completed an internship with the Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute, where I gained experience in copepod identification, plankton taxonomy and processing benthic video transects.

Research Project:

My project will be looking at the landscape ecology of disturbance and recovery on Pacific coral reefs. I hope to expand the current understanding of the spatial patterns of impact and recovery in coral reef communities after a disturbance event. Primarily, I will achieve this by way of an extensive literature review, which will compare the way coral reefs react spatially to a disturbance to a forest system. The existing data set I will be using to further investigate this topic spans 40 Pacific islands and comprises of towed-diver survey data over a period of 16 years (2000-2016). I will be investigating disturbance (hurricane and bleaching) histories for each island and examining whether there have been characteristic patterns in the response of corals over landscape scales. I hope to then investigate whether these spatial patterns of impact relate to specific responses in recovery.