- Project name: Spatial variation in abundance and distribution of two rare and vulnerable EDGE coral species under different management regimes
- Project site: North Male and North Ari atolls, Maldives
- EDGE species: Pearl Bubble coral Physogyra lichtensteini & Elephant Skin coral Pachyseries rugosa
- Active: 2016 - ongoing
Basheer is dedicated to marine conservation in the Maldives and works for IUCN Maldives conducting marine science expeditions investigating coral diversity, abundance and bleaching on Maldivian reefs. Witnessing the plight of these vulnerable coral species has inspired Basheer to continue this research.
As an EDGE Fellow, Basheer is gaining valuable experience and expertise in marine conservation, whilst highlighting the importance of coral diversity to the Maldivian people. The work he is undertaking as an EDGE Fellow will help him to prevent the collapse of vulnerable coral species, and apply his skills to the successful management of Maldivian reefs.
This project is the first comprehensive study of these two coral species in the Maldives. It aims to evaluate and improve management actions related to marine protected areas, through:
- Determining whether population levels and management regimes on several targeted islands have an effect on the distribution and abundance;
- Raising awareness of the impact that human activity has on coral and the associated reefs, and training citizen scientists in ecological survey techniques to aid future assessments of reefs in both protected and unprotected areas;
- Making recommendations for development of management strategies to reduce the risk of local extinction of vulnerable corals in the Maldives.
- Basheer presented his findings at the Maldives Marine Science Symposium
- His research group made first sighting of a possible camouflage adaptation in response to coral bleaching by the warty frogfish species Antennarius maculatus. This finding was published in the journal Coral Reefs.