Why Coral Reefs?
“There are many different reasons why coral reefs are important,” Dr. Smith said in a 2012 interview. “One of the most obvious ones is the number of people they support - an estimated half a billion. That number is expected to double in the next fifty years to a billion. And these are not overinflated estimates. At the same time as that billion is reached, the amount of reef available is expected to halve because of current impacts: overexploitation, the potential consequences of climate change. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that we are reaching a very pivotal point, that if we don’t do something about it - actively manage the system, start to understand how we can mitigate some of the impacts of climate change, find alternative incomes and food security for the billion people - then, quite easily, the reefs could disappear as we know them.”
Why Field Research?
“I went to a college in London which had a tradition of running expeditions, and I ran an expedition out to Belize, living on an island for 10 weeks. The whole experience of living on a coral island and diving three or four times a day, that life experience, just completely changed what I wanted to do for a living. Before that, I wanted to study marine biology but I wasn’t really sure where my career was going.”