Prof. Alasdair Edwards

Professor of Coral Reef Ecology

School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Ridley Building
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: +44 (0)191 208 6898


Research Interests

Current research focuses on a) spatial and temporal patterns of recovery of coral reefs from physical damage and mass bleaching events, b) how reef restoration technologies can assist natural recovery processes, c) how gear changes and reserves can assist sustainable fisheries development, d) patterns of coral reproduction in the Indo-Pacific, and e) the systematics and biogeography or reef fish.

Collaborative Research

Recently finished projects include:

Past projects include:

International Collaboration

Prof. Ed Gomez, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines - efficacy and cost-effectiveness of reef restoration technologies.

Dr Tony Gill, Macleay Museum, University of Sydney - systematics and phylogeny of pseudoplesiopine fishes (Teleostei: Pseudochromidae).

Prof. Andrew Baird, James Cook University; Dr James Guest, Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology; Dr Jess Bouwmeester, Qatar University; Dr Andrew Bauman, National University of Singapore - database of coral spawning

Shoals Rodrigues NGO, Mauritius - Developing reserves for biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries.

Professional Positions

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of SECORE International, a leading conservation organization for the protection and restoration of coral reefs, 2016-

Chair of Technical Steering Committee for the GEF/World Bank CCRES (Capturing Coral Reef & Related Ecosystem Services project 2015-2018

Member of IFRECOR (Initiative Française pour les Récifs Coralliens) International Panel of experts on reef habitat classification in French Overseas Territories

Chair of GEF/World Bank Reef Restoration and Remediation Working Group 2004-2010

Member of International Bilko Executive Steering Team (IBEST) for the UNESCO-Bilko remote sensing distance-learning project.

Guest Editor, Special Issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin on Rehabilitation of Coastal Ecosystems published in 1999

Co-organiser of International Workshop on the Rehabilitation of Degraded Coastal Systems (19-24 January 1998, Phuket, Thailand)

Invited speaker at both the Ministerial and Technical sessions at the Small States Conference on Sea Level Rise Male', 14-18 November 1989. See also 1989 report to Commonwealth Secretariat on The Implications of Sea-Level Rise for the Republic of Maldives.

Recent Research Students

  • Hussein Zahir: Patterns of coral community recovery in Maldives following mass bleaching in 1998. (Awarded MPhil 2007)
  • Anne-Marie Kitchen-Wheeler: The behavioural ecology of Alfred's manta (Manta alfredi) in the central Maldives atolls. (Awarded PhD 2013)


I still teach on a Master's module about aspects of coral reef restoration.

Selected Recent Publications

Keith, S.A., Maynard, J.A., Edwards, A.J., Guest, J.R., Bauman, A.G., van Hooidonk, R., Heron, S.F., Berumen, M.L., Bouwmeester, J., Piromvaragorn, S., Rahbek, C. and Baird, A.H. (2016). Coral mass spawning predicted by rapid seasonal rise in ocean temperature. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 283:

Edwards, A.J., Guest, J.R., Heyward, A.J., Villanueva, R.D., Baria, M.V., Bollozos, I.S.F. and Golbuu, Y. (2015) Direct seeding of mass-cultured coral larvae is not an effective option for reef rehabilitation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 525: 105-116.

Brown, B.E., Dunne, R.P., Edwards, A.J., Sweet, M.J. and Phongsuwan, N. (2015) Decadal environmental 'memory' in corals? Marine Biology 162: 479-483.

Sale, P.F., Agardy, T., Ainsworth, C.H., Feist, B.E., Bell, J.D., Christie, P., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Mumby, P.J., Feary, D.A., Saunders, M.I., Daw, T.M., Foale, S.J., Levin, P.S., Lindeman, K.C., Lorenzen, K., Pomeroy, R.S., Allison, E.H., Bradbury, R.H., Corrin, J., Edwards, A.J., Obura, D.O., Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y.J., Samoilys, M.A. and Sheppard, C.R.C. (2014) Transforming management of tropical coastal seas to cope with challenges of the 21st Century. Marine Pollution Bulletin 85: 8-23.

Guest, J.R., Baria, M.V., Gomez, E.D., Heyward, A.J. and Edwards, A.J. (2014) Closing the circle: Is it feasible to rehabilitate reefs with sexually propagated corals? Coral Reefs 33: 45-55.

Van Dover, C.L., Aronson, J., Pendleton, L, Smith, S., Arnaud-Haond, S., Moreno-Mateos, D., Barbier, E., Billett, D., Bowers, K., Danovaro, R., Edwards, A., Kellert, S., Morato, T., Pollard, E., Rogers, A. and Warner, R. (2014) Ecological restoration in the deep sea: Desiderata. Marine Policy 44: 98-106.

Hardman, E., Edwards, A.J. and Raffin, J.S.J. (2013) The seine-net fishery of Rodrigues Island, western Indian Ocean: is it sustainable or in terminal decline? Fisheries Research 139: 35-42.

Guest, J.R., Baird, A.H., Maynard, J.A., Muttaqin, E., Edwards, A.J., Campbell, S.J., Yewdall, K., Affendi, Y.A. and Chou, L.M. (2012) Contrasting patterns of coral bleaching susceptibility in 2010 suggest an adaptive response to thermal stress. PLoS ONE 7 (3): e33353.

Further info:
NERC Planet Earth Online

Mumby, P.J., Steneck, R.S., Edwards, A.J., Coleman, R., Harborne, A.R., and Gibson, J.P. (2012) Fishing down a Caribbean food web relaxes trophic cascades. Marine Ecology Progress Series 445: 13-24.

Kitchen-Wheeler, A.-M., Ari, C. and Edwards, A.J. (2012) Population estimates of Alfred mantas (Manta alfredi) in central Maldives atolls: North Male, Ari and Baa. Environmental Biology of Fishes 93: 557-575.

Luiz, O.J. and Edwards, A.J. (2011) Extinction of a shark population in the Archipelago of Saint Paul's Rocks (equatorial Atlantic) inferred from the historical record. Biological Conservation 144: 2873-2881.

Further info:
Shark Research Institute
Shark Year Magazine

Graham, N.A.J., McClanahan, T.R., MacNeil, M.A., Wilson, S.K., Polunin, N.V.C., Jennings, J., Chabanet, P., Clark, S., Spalding, M.D., Letourneur, Y., Bigot, L., Galzin, R., Öhman, M.C., Garpe1, K.C., Edwards, A.J. and Sheppard, C.R.C. (2008). Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems. PLoS ONE 3 (8): e3039.

Further info:
The Great Beyond (Nature's news blog)
The New Scientist

Carpenter, K.E., Abrar, M., Aeby, G., Aronson, R.B., Banks, S., Bruckner, A., Chiriboga, A., Cortés, J., Delbeek, J.C., DeVantier, L., Edgar, G.J., Edwards, A.J., Fenner, D., Guzmán, H.M., Hoeksema, B.W., Hodgson, G., Johan, O., Licuanan, W.Y., Livingstone, S.R., Lovell, E.R., Moore, J.A., Obura, D.O., Ochavillo, D., Polidoro, B.A., Precht, W.F., Quibilan, M.C., Reboton, C., Richards, Z.T., Rogers, A.D., Sanciangco, J., Sheppard, A., Sheppard, C., Smith, J., Stuart, S., Turak, E., Veron, J.E.N., Wallace C., Weil, E. and Wood, E. (2008). One-third of reef-building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts. Science 321: 560-563.

Further info:
The Independent
The Guardian

Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Mumby, P.J., Hooten, A.J., Steneck, R.S., Greenfield, P., Gomez, E., Harvell, D.R., Sale, P.F., Edwards, A.J., Caldeira, K., Knowlton, N. Eakin, C.M., Iglesias-Prieto, R., Muthinga, N., Bradbury, R.H., Dubi, A. and Hatziolos, M.E. (2007). The carbon crisis: coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Science 318: 1737-1742.

Further info:
The Guardian
The World Bank

Edwards, A.J. (Ed.) (2010). Reef Rehabilitation Manual. Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Program: St. Lucia, Australia. ii + 166 pp. ISBN 978-1-921317-05-7.

Floeter, S.R., Rocha, L.A., Robertson, D.R., Joyeux, J.C., Smith-Vaniz, W., Wirtz, P., Edwards, A.J., Barreiros, J.P., Ferreira, C.E.L., Gasparini, C.E.L., Brito, A., Falcón, M., Bowen, B.W. and Bernardi, G. (2008). Atlantic reef fish biogeography and evolution. Journal of Biogeography 35 (1): 22-47.

Edwards, A.J. and Gomez, E.D. (2007). Reef Restoration Concepts & Guidelines: making sensible management choices in the face of uncertainty. Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management Programme: St Lucia, Australia. iv + 38 pp.

Also available in:
Bahasa Indonesia

Gill, A.C. and Edwards, A.J. (2006) Lubbockichthys myersi, a new species of dottyback fish from Guam (Pseudochromidae: Pseudoplesiopinae). Zootaxa 1320: 43-48.

Mumby, P.J., Edwards, A.J., Arias-González, J.E., Lindeman, K.C., Blackwell, P.G., Gall, A., Gorczynska, M.I., Harborne, A.R., Pescod, C.L., Renken, H., Wabnitz, C.C.C. and Llewellyn, G. (2004). Mangroves enhance the biomass of coral reef fish communities in the Caribbean. Nature 427: 533-536.

Gill, A.C. and Edwards, A.J. (2003) Pseudoplesiops wassi, new species of pseudoplesiopine dottyback (Teleostei: Pseudochromidae: Pseudoplesiopinae) from the West Pacific. Zootaxa 291: 1-7.

Edwards, A.J., Gill, A.C. and Abohweyere, P.O. (2003) A revision of F.R. Irvine's Ghanaian marine fishes in the collections of The Natural History Museum, London. Journal of Natural History 37 (18): 2213-2267.

Mumby, P.J., Edwards, A.J. (2002) Mapping marine environments with IKONOS imagery: enhanced spatial resolution can deliver greater thematic accuracy. Remote Sensing of Environment 82: 248-257.

Gill, A.C., Edwards, A.J. (2002) Two new species of the Indo-Pacific fish genus Pseudoplesiops (Perciformes, Pseudochromidae, Pseudoplesiopinae). Bulletin of The Natural History Museum, London (Zoology) 68 (1): 19-26.

Mumby, P.J., Chisholm, J.R.M., Edwards, A.J., Clark, C.D., Roark, E.B., Andrefouet, S. and Jaubert, J. (2001). Unprecedented bleaching-induced mortality in Porites spp. at Rangiroa Atoll, French Polynesia. Marine Biology, 139: 183-189.

Edwards, A.J., Clark, S., Zahir, H., Rajasuriya, A., Naseer, A. and Rubens, J. (2001). Coral bleaching and mortality on artificial and natural reefs in Maldives in 1998, sea surface temperature anomalies and initial recovery. Marine Pollution Bulletin 42: 7-15.

Mumby, P.J., Chisholm, J.R.M., Edwards, A.J., Andrefouet, S. and Jaubert, J. (2001). Cloudy weather may have saved Society Island reef corals during the 1998 ENSO event. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 222: 209-216.

Green, E.P., Mumby, P.J., Edwards, A.J. and Clark, C.D. (Ed. Edwards, A.J.) (2000). Remote Sensing Handbook for Tropical Coastal Management. Unesco, Paris. 316 pp.

Edwards, A.J., Field, C.D. and Fortes, M.D. (Eds) (1999). Special Issue: Rehabilitation of Coastal Ecosystems. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 37 (8-12): 371-557

Gill, A.C. and Edwards, A.J. (1999). Monophyly, interrelationships and description of three new genera in the dottyback fish subfamily Pseudoplesiopinae (Teleostei: Perciformes: Pseudochromidae). Records of the Australian Museum, 51: 141-160.

Edwards, A.J. and Clark, S. (1999). Coral transplantation: a useful management tool or misguided meddling? Marine Pollution Bulletin 37: 474-487.

Full list of publications