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Research Fellows Directory

Lorenzo Alvarez-Filip

Dr Lorenzo Alvarez-Filip

Research Fellow


University of Exeter

Research summary

I am a marine ecologist and researcher at the Reef Systems Unit, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). I have a broad interest in ecology including marine biodiversity, global change biology and conservation ecology. My research is primarily based on Caribbean coral reefs.

Coral reefs are rapidly becoming degraded around the world, and urgent efforts are required to identify the consequences of these ecological changes for reef-associated biodiversity. My research have shown that coral cover and reef complexity have declined markedly across the Caribbean, and that throughout the Caribbean, the few coral species responsible for most of the structural complexity have been now replaced by opportunistic species. Although we are only beginning to understand the consequences of these ecological shifts, it is likely that they will drastically affect structural complexity and functioning of coral reefs. Because reefs with high architectural complexity, in particular those dominated by major reef-building corals, supported fish assemblages with larger numbers of individuals and longer food chains, the rapid degradation of Caribbean coral reefs have resulted in a partial replacement of specialist fish species by generalists over the past 30 years, which may ultimately lead to homogenisation and simplification of Caribbean reef fish communities.

This Fellowship supports the establishment of a new research collaboration between with Professor Chris Perry (University of Exeter, UK), who has pioneered the development of a census-based methodology (ReefBudget) for measuring biological carbonate budgets on Coral Reefs.

Grants awarded

Building capacity for monitoring the physical functionality and resilience of coral reef ecosystems along the Mesoamerican Reef

Scheme: Newton Advanced Fellowship

Dates: Mar 2016 - Feb 2019

Value: £86,655

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