Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai is a coral reef ecologist. She grew up in Fiji, an island in the South Pacific. From a young age, she studied things in the water. She knew that life in the water was just as important as life on land.
Dr. Mangubhai now studies coral reefs in Fiji. Most corals are made up of thousands of tiny living animals. The coral has algae, which is like a plant, living in it. The coral reef and the algae are dependent on each other for survival. Together, corals, fish, other animals like starfish, octopus, and jellyfish and plants, make up ecosystems, called coral reefs.
Dr. Mangubhai studies the factors that cause coral bleaching and the impact it has on whole coral reef ecosystems. Coral bleaching is when the coral gets rid of its algae and turns white. The coral eventually dies. She studies factors that cause stress to corals, including the effects of changing water temperatures, heavy rainfall, and pollution.
She has designed programs that monitor how coral reef ecosystems are changing because of human activities and behavior. She wants people to work together to help protect the ocean and all the ecosystems that live there.
Dr. Mangubhai also works to bring more women into the fishing industry. Women feed their families by selling fish they catch. When larger fishing industries come to the area, these women are not considered for jobs that could help them support their family.
What Can You Do? How does Dr. Mangubhai’s work inspire you to get involved?
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Photo Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji