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S CAROLAN Coral Assisst_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Sophie Carolan

Ph.D. candidate  

Supervisors: Dr. James Guest, Dr. Holly East

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At an early age, diving in the Red Sea amongst spectacular coral, I knew that I had found a lifetime interest. Later as a volunteer with Barefoot Conservation in Indonesia I was assigned to the ‘Coral Team,’ conducting benthic surveys which developed my love of coral.

I completed my B.Sc. in Marine Biology at Newcastle University, and my dissertation project in partnership with Operation Wallacea examined the “Importance of Architectural Complexity of Coral Reefs for the Abundance and Biodiversity of Honduran Fish: A Comparison of Methods”. This research focused on a new method of assessing architectural complexity using the Young et al. 2017 (PLoS One) methodology of 3D modelling via structure-from-motion/photogrammetry, alongside multiple metrics of complexity (rugosity index, fractal dimension and vector dispersion). 

After graduating I worked as a project supervisor for Operation Wallacea’s “Team 3D” in Honduras. Supervising a similar, though greater scale project, mapping large sections of the reef in 3D and recording fish biomass and abundance data through Stereo-Video-Surveys. 

I have since worked on a coral reef restoration project in the Seychelles, maintaining the coral nurseries and conducting resilience surveys to better understand how our restoration effects are influencing the reefs around Cousin Island. 

My interest in coral research brought me back to Newcastle University for an MRes in Marine Ecosystems & Governance on “Implications of Species Choice, Coral Fragment Size, Growth and Survivorship for Reef Restoration”.  This project was made possible thanks to the CoralAssist Team providing data and support. 

I am currently a PhD researcher at Northumbria University and Newcastle University, investigating the drivers behind coral reef bright spots in Honduras, Central Caribbean. This work is being done with my CASE Partner Operation Wallacea who will be supporting my data collection. After my PhD, I hope to continue my career in Academia, hopefully combining research with teaching. 

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