Around six million people fish on coral reefs, and the fish they catch provide critical sources of protein, micronutrients and income for many millions more. However, coral reefs have been greatly degraded by local human pressures and global climate change. With reef degradation escalating it is essential to know how coral reef condition influences associated fisheries.
Coral reef habitat loss is known to influence reef fish communities, and yet fishery yield estimates may not be as sensitive to these changes as expected. This project will tackle the issue of how coral reef fisheries respond to reef habitat decline using a range of approaches. Specifically the project will ask: How do gradients of reef degradation influence the standing stock and productivity potential of key fishery species? How are yield and catch-per-unit-effort influenced by coral reef condition? What is the spatial and temporal overlap between reef habitat and fisheries landings? What are fishers perceptions of the fishery potential of differing coral reef habitat?
By tackling the overarching question from diverse perspectives, the project aims to capture the ecological and fishery factors that determine how reef ecosystem decline will influence reef fisheries. With supervisory and project support at Lancaster University, UK, and Dalhousie University, Canada, the project offers unique opportunities for research and training in coral reef science.
Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology, or Geography. Applicants with Masters degrees, relevant research experience, or publications will be highly competitive. Exposure to statistical analyses and fisheries desirable.