My main interest is in coral reef ecology, with particular focus on Caribbean scleractinian corals. As well as using molecular techniques to explore symbiont and host diversity in corals across the Caribbean, I model the effects of climate change on the health of coral reefs: specifically the important balance between bioerosion and framework construction. This balance determines the creation of three-dimensional spatial complexity - ultimately responsible for reefs harbouring high levels of biodiversity and other ecosystem services. I also help teach on an undergraduate coral reef field-course, and am a committee member for the Reef Conservation UK annual conference.
Previous work includes research on reef-generated noise in Panama, in collaboration with Dr Steve Simpson at Bristol University, and Dr. Hector Guzman at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute . Together we demonstrated that healthy reefs in the Las Perlas archipelago with more living corals and fish generate predictably greater levels of biological noise. This has important implications for understanding the behaviour of larval fish, and provides an exciting new approach for monitoring environmental health by listening to reefs.
Before beginning my PhD project at Exeter, I worked in the Caribbean (Honduras and Cuba) for the scientific organisation Operation Wallacea, teaching coral reef ecology and training undergraduate researchers in the collection of long-term monitoring data.
My PhD focuses on the topic of climate change and reef health, with my research following two connected strands:
My PhD is supervised by Dr Jamie Stevens (Exeter) and Prof. Peter Mumby (University of Queensland, Australia). The project is part of a collaborative integrated research project, the FORCE project that aims to integrate scientific and social approaches to manage Caribbean coral reefs in the face of climate change.
Harborne, A.R., Mumby, P.J., Kennedy, E.V. & Ferrari, R. Biotic and multi-scale abiotic controls of habitat quality: their effect on coral reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 437, 201-214 (2011).
Kennedy, E.V., Holderied, M.W., Mair, J.M., Guzman, H.M. & Simpson, S.D. Spatial patterns in reef-generated noise relate to habitats and communities: Evidence from a Panamanian case study. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 395, 85-92 (2010).
Kennedy, E.V., Perry, C.T. and Mumby, P.J. 2010. Caribbean reefs in a changing environment: modelling carbonate budget responses to environmental change. European International Society for Reef Studies, Wageningen, Netherlands, December 2010
Kennedy, E.V. and Mumby, P.J. 2009. Balancing the budget: An overview of carbonate accretionary and erosional processes on coral reefs (poster). Reef Conservation UK annual meeting, London, December 2009.
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