Earthwatch PI, Rick Stafford, Ph.D.

Rick Stafford, Ph.D.

Professor of Marine Biology and Conservation

I’m a marine biologist at Bournemouth University in the UK with over 20 years research experience in temperate and tropical marine ecosystems, from rocky shores to coral and artificial reefs. I’m interested in how people affect the sea, and also how the sea affects people, from providing food and recreation to enhancing well-being.

Why are you interested in your research focus?

I’m very concerned about the effects of fishing and climate change on the oceans, especially on coral reefs, and the effect that coral reef degradation will have on the local communities that use these reefs. While we can’t replace coral reefs lost to climate change, we can use artificial reefs to provide a home for many species, restore some critical ecosystem functions and make sure the local communities can continue to value, live from, and look after the sea.

A great moment in the field

In my work assessing the effectiveness of marine protected areas in Ecuador, I got to dive in the Galapagos Islands. Every dive there was amazing but seeing hammerhead sharks slowly emerging from the gloom and then swimming right past you is certainly something I won’t forget.

Education
  • Ph.D. Comparing rocky shore ecosystems in temperate and tropical regions. University of Sunderland (UK) and The University of Hong Kong
  • BSc(Hons) Marine Biology. Plymouth University, UK
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