Freie Universitaet Berlin
For more than 20 years I have dedicated my research to a better understanding of coral reef ecosystems in the tropical oceans and how humans interact and impact those magnificent underwater cities.
During my very first dive in the Indian Ocean in May 1998 I witnessed the largest coral mortality event in response to the Super El Nino of 1997/98. The only colour my eye was catching was white, all corals bleached down to 30m depth at Mayotte Island (Comoros) in the wake of hot ocean temperatures. Ever since I got interested in understanding what has happened and why such events unfold.
My research involves the geochemical study of marine biological (massive corals) and sedimentary archives from the tropical oceans as recorders of environmental and climate change. I read the geochemical composition of the coral skeleton from giant, massive corals that archive year by year any environmental and climatic changes they have experienced during their long life span of more than 200 years.
For most of my career, I have worked on Indian Ocean, Indonesian and Caribbean coral and sediment records. This work is motivated by the need to produce reliable, long-term baseline data of sea surface temperature, ocean currents and the hydrological cycle over the tropical/subtropical oceans and how they shape patterns of biodiversity in our oceans and adjacent coasts. With my research I aim to provide marine coastal managers, environmental protection agencies and governments with the knowledge to make the right decisions to secure a future for our coral reefs and the many millions of people who depend on them for their livelihoods.
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