The Chagos Archipelago: Coral reefs from the days of yore
About the session
The Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean is one of the largest and most remote marine-protected areas in the world. It comprises 55 tiny scattered islands gently lapped by some of the cleanest seawater ever recorded. Its location midway between the East African coast and the Western Indo-Pacific serves as a stepping stone for marine biodiversity in the region, offering a refuge for globally-important species such as turtles, sharks, coconut crabs and seabirds. The 60,000 square kilometers of coral reefs here provide one of the best examples of a relatively pristine contemporary reef system when wilderness habitats such as these have become increasingly rare. Yet even here, the pernicious effects of unsustainable human activity and reliance on single-use plastics have begun to leave their indelible mark.
In this session, I will give an illuminating overview of my research as a QIAGEN NGS Profile Award winner to study the world's rarest coral, highlighting my ongoing efforts to understand the bewildering and spectacular array of nature that abounds in this iconic marine reserve.