The goal is to identify the factors that define a pristine coral reef, and to consider how we can bring these ecological characteristics back to coral reefs that have been damaged. The academic opportunity is unparalleled, and the team is holding nothing back to learn the most possible in this unique trip.

Coral Reef Systems (CRS) is a working group of scientists united by an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to studying coral reefs across gradients of anthropogenic stress.


We study pristine reefs to establish baselines to compare with changing systems. Without an understanding of how coral reefs are structured in the absence of disturbance, it is impossible to assess the magnitude of change in response to human activities. Taking advantage of coral reef baselines in some of the remotest regions of the world, our group strives to learn just how coral reefs should function. Armed with such baseline knowledge, we can knowingly characterize the roles, both good and bad, played by human activities.


Recognizing that coral reefs are highly diverse, complex systems, we work across disciplines to better understand the ecology of reef communities. From chemistry to climate, from microbes to sharks, our efforts span the wide range of organizational and taxonomic scales that compose coral reefs. We have standardized methods of data acquisition and invented many others that are now used in a variety of ecosystems.