I specialized in applying multidisciplinary approaches for the conservation of marine biodiversity. Early on in my academic career and through my Licenciatura and Magister Scientiarum research theses, I focused on exploring the role of epiphytic microalgae assemblages associated with the mucopolysaccharide layer of Scleractinian corals taking an Experimental Ecology approach. Moving towards conservation and management of marine resources in my Doctorate, with a focus on rare coral species and the use of seascape ecology and socio-ecological networks to inform management.
My current interest lies in improving the indicators we use to inform the conservation and management of coastal ecosystems, incorporating a socio-ecological approach and using coral reefs as model systems.
Under the current changing climate, the need to understand changes in the functional integrity of coastal ecosystems, to allow local communities to adapt through ecosystem-based management, is at the forefront of global agreements and conservation agendas. However, without appropriate tools to measure and track the delivery of ecosystem services, the effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) interventions (i.e., approaches such as Nature-Based Solutions) will be hindered. The tools to measure the capacity of the services derived from coastal ecosystems to continue facilitating adaptation need be widely available and implementable to inform, monitor and evaluate EbA interventions.
This is also true for the social component of these coastal systems, where quantitative indicators can significantly improve the way we monitor and improve adaptation interventions based on a better understanding of factors that affect access to and the relative distribution of benefits derived from ecosystem services among stakeholders most at risk to the effects of climate change.
To this end, I am working within a multidisciplinary and international team of researchers and practitioners looking at the use of Structure for Motion for surveying and monitoring rare benthic species and key functional traits linked to the delivery of ecosystem services.