Coral Communities: Building Socio-Ecological Resilience to Coral Reef Degradation in the Islands of the Western Indian Ocean.​

Improving the resilience of communities and coral reefs to changes anticipated as a result of climate change is an issue of huge global importance. Hundreds of millions of people rely on coral reefs to provide essential services such as food and coastal protection. These ecosystems also contribute significantly to national economies through sectors such as tourism.


This interdisciplinary project drew together a network of UK-Western Indian Ocean (WIO) collaborators to address evidence gaps and support the development of resilience strategies across the WIO.

Within the project, a team of interdisciplinary researchers drew on expertise in environmental and health economics, social sciences, development, social psychology, marine geosciences, marine biology, art (including concept and design development and film making) and religious studies. ​The team were a partnership between PML, the Universities of Exeter and Cardiff, Indeva Consulting, The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) and two freelance artists in the UK and Reef Conservation in Mauritius.

Project achievements

- A literature review, assessing the extent to which the initiatives used to manage coral reefs are successful in building community and reef resilience.
- A stakeholder workshop in Mauritius, to identify ways in which these initiatives can be refined to better build resilience.
- Development and pilot of a novel, arts-based approach for assessing perceptions of the environment and the socio-cultural risk associated with different resilience strategies.
- A second stakeholder workshop in the UK, to identify possibilities for future collaboration.

Download the Mauritius workshop summary report (May 2017)

Download the UK workshop summary report (Sept 2017)

View photographs from our workshops in Mauritius, Zanzibar and the UK

Coral Communities Newspaper

We want to take you on a short journey through the activities of the Coral Communities project and show you how participatory visual approaches can be used to engage with communities to help them express how they interact with their environment, how they are working with environmental change and what their aspirations are.
An English version (left) and a French version (right) are available to view.


Download the Newspaper - English version (PDF - 6MB)  /  Download the Newspaper - French version (PDF - 6MB)

Project video

Coral Communities Film from andyhughes on Vimeo.


Coral Communities: Socio-ecological Resilience of Fundo Islanders

Coral Communities: Socio-ecological Resilience of Fundo Islanders from mwambao network on Vimeo.

Pocket book video guide

Pocket book video guideA "Pocket book" video guide has been produced which explains how to get the best shots when working with video.

Download it here


Which resilience strategies?

The researchers were interested in strategies that support coral reef ecosystems and the communities who interact with them to cope with external stresses and disturbances. These strategies range for those entirely focused on community development (e.g. introduction of new technology, health programmes and microfinancing) to fisheries management, financing and certification schemes, marine protected areas and reef restoration (e.g. coral gardening). 

How can you get involved?

- Offer feedback on the structure and content of the project's literature review, to ensure the evidence gathered is relevant to your work.
​- Test out the arts-based approach for assessing resilience strategies developed by this project.

If you would like more information, please contact PML's Dr Caroline Hattam ( or Kathy Young from Reef Conservation (

​View images and video from the project on Instagram or follow the hashtag #​coralcommunities on Twitter.

The Team

Click here to view full biographies of the team

Mark Bryant
Mark Bryant
Louisa Evans
Louisa Evans
Caroline Hattam
Caroline Hattam
Tara Hooper
Tara Hooper
Andy Hughes
Andy Hughes
Fazlun Khalid
Karyn Morrissey
Karyn Morrissey
Jason Parsons
Jason Parsons
Ali Thani
Ali Thani
Photo of Susanne Turrall
Susanne Turrall
Dominica Williamson
Dominica Williamson
Kathy YoungKathy Young



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This project has been completed

Key information

Funder: UK Global Challenges Research Fund

Project start date: February 2017

Project end date: October 2017

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Dr Caroline Hattam
Environmental Economist

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