Francoise Cavada

  • Project name: Population status and genetic connectivity of Dendrogyra cylindrus at Los Roques, Venezuela
  • Project site: Los Roques National Park
  • EDGE species: Pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus
  • Active: 2014 - 2016


Francoise is a great young coral scientist who is deeply interested in contributing her skills to further the conservation of EDGE corals. Whilst developing her passion for marine education, she also hopes to engender currently lacking support for the real-world application of her research.

Currently based at the Simón Bolívar University, Venezuela, Francoise has been participating in a broad range of work, from ecological assessments of Montastraea cavernosa, or the Great Star coral (another high ED species), to the development of educational materials.

Francoise recently completed her PhD which focused on the development of Marine Protected Area management plans. Her EDGE Fellowship provided her with the ability to communicate and implement her results towards effective conservation strategies for this EDGE coral species that are inclusive of local communities. In 2017 Francoise became one of the first EDGE Affiliates.

EDGE Project

Francoise’s project aimed to include the population status, threats and genetic connectivity of Dendrogyra cylindrus in relevant MPA management plans at Los Roques, Venezuela by:

  • Assessing the population, genetic structure and distribution of D.cylindrus within the Los Roques area;
  • Incorporating a detailed socio-economic threat assessment into observations of the effects of the coral disease White syndrome, predation and anchor damage with varying levels of pollution and tourism pressure;
  • To effectively communicate conservation recommendations to decision-makers through workshops and consultation, including local community councils with encouragement of participatory approaches.


  • Francoise was invited to present her findings at the 37th scientific meeting of the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean (AMLC) in Curacao. Three manuscripts detailing the work presented are set to be published in the Proceedings of the 37thAMLC, in a special issue of PeerJ;
  • Francoise was selected for a 4-week Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS) at Cambridge followed by an internship at the Natural History Museum. During the internship, Francoise obtained new records of occurrence for the EDGE species in Venezuela, as well as an estimate of relative abundance from historic photographs and expedition journals from the 19th century.

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