Earthwatch Co-PI Zach Boakes

Zach Boakes, Ph.D.

Co-PI / North Bali Reef Conservation co-founder

Zach Boakes (He, His, Him) is a marine scientist whose research has focused on the ecological, functional, and socio-economic benefits of coral reef restoration in Bali, Indonesia.

Zach is also the co-founder of North Bali Reef Conservation (NBRC), an environmental non-governmental organization that works with volunteers and local communities to restore degraded reef habitats in North Bali. NBRC focuses primarily on the construction and deployment of artificial reef structures within a locally managed No Take Zone, as well as community environmental education, turtle conservation, and plastic recycling programs.

Why are you interested in your research focus?

I am delighted to have an opportunity to continue our artificial reef research with Earthwatch. From the subsidiary research we’ve conducted, our artificial reefs have shown promise in areas where corals have been previously degraded or destroyed. I am interested in this topic because it gives us an exciting opportunity to highlight the potential benefits of artificial reefs in tropical areas that have received little or no previous research.

A great moment in the field

My previous reef monitoring program required deploying an underwater camera attached to an RUV unit. Each day for three months, with the help of field assistants and local fishermen, I would deploy the camera unit from a fishing boat. Often local Balinese children came with us on the boat, and on one lucky day, we were also joined by a playful eagle ray as we deployed the camera unit. It was a memorable moment for me to experience the ray leaping out of the water with local children who were clearly delighted to see this for the first time.

  • BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science, Bournemouth University (UK)
  • Ph.D. focused on coral reef conservation in Indonesia, Bournemouth University (UK)
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Upcoming Expeditions

Coral transplantation dive: Myself (far left) leading a team of volunteers to transplant branching coral fragments onto recently deployed artificial reef structures.
Artificial reef building.
Environmental awareness and plastic recycling program: establishing a plastic recycling centre in North Bali requires doing regular classes with local school children and community groups.

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