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Coral Reefs at Risk - Research Course

A project by: Laura Warmuth



from 3 donors

This project received donations on Mon 27 Aug 2018
Ecological modelling course in Glasgow, research that supports coral reef conservation of the future

summer course about species distribution modelling - coral conservation of the future

Quick intro to my project

I am raising £900 to join a summer course about 'species distribution modelling'. This helps me to advance research which predicts future ranges of corals and can directly inform conservation and management of tropical coral reefs.

Who am i?

I am Laura, a tropical marine biology student at the University of Essex. I'm 24, hailing from Southern Germany but I was always obsessed with the ocean! That's why I went from studying biology in Germany to Australia to study marine ecology at James Cook University. There, I got completely hooked with coral reefs, climate change and conservation. I love scuba diving and am planning to work in research, conservation and at the interface from science to policy making and applied management. My biggest motivation in research is science communication and to carry the results out of the 'Ivory Tower of Science' to the real world with stake holders and governments.

my story

We all know that tropical coral reefs are at risk. They face lots of challenges such as higher temperatures, coastal development, tourism, pollution or ocean acidification.

With increasing pressure in the 21st century on these valuable ecosystems that serve cultural and ecological values such as tourism, food security, climate control and tsunami protection their conservation is more important and urgent than ever.

Conservation has to include future scenarios into their management methods and this is exactly why I use coral distribution modelling for more informed, efficient and sustainable conservation.

I am using computer modelling to predict the distribution of various coral species in the future under different scenarios. Additionally, I am looking at environmental/social variables such as temperature, coastal development, coastal population trends, tourism or pollution. My research is focused on all hard coral species (order: Scleractinia).

Current management efforts are often based on recent estimations which habitats are suitable for marine protected areas or which areas are most effective for coral restoration. However, with increasing challenges that coral reefs face predictions state that more than 90% of all coral reefs could be lost by 2050!

The course I am attending will give me an insight into modelling using the statistical language R. We will create our own models with species of interest, include different variables and look for the model that explains the future conditions in the best way! After that we'll also look into creating visual plots and maps of future species distributions.

My dissertation will result in coral distribution maps that can inform stakeholders in the planning process of future marine protected areas.

Where will the money go?

The amount I am trying to raise includes

  • Minimum funding necessary for the course fee: £540 (£125 paid for professional skill development by the University of Essex)

If I hit the full target

  • £100 flights to Glasgow
  • £50 public transport
  • £300 contributing to accommodation and food for the week

If things take off any extra fundings will be spent on

  • literature about modelling and R language
  • possibility to join a conference to present the results

I'll tweet and post updates every couple of days during the course progress and also afterwards about the data analysis and results


If I caught your interest and you decided to donate for my research course - that's great! Have a look at the rewards on the right-hand side as a thank you for your donation - no matter how big or small!

Follow me here

Follow me for even more updates and photos about my research @LauraMWarmuth (Twitter) and @lauradomar (Instagram).

If you're not a fan of social media you can of course email me at lw17209@essex.ac.uk for any questions or updates!

Help me succeed!

I would be super happy if I convinced you of the importance of my project :) If you want to know what you could do to support me, here we go:

  • I am extremely grateful for any amount of donation (for example 3£ instead of your daily coffee could make a difference, too!). But if you can't or don't want to spare a pound - no problem!
  • If you share my project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other social media or with interested friends and family that would also help a lot! Tell your neighbors or the technology addict in class about it ;)

Thanks to everyone for your support!