Gwilym Rowlands, PhD

2007 Research Fellow, Ground Truthing and Acoustic Surveyor


Gwilym Rowlands, was a Living Oceans Foundation Fellow in 2007 and is completing his Ph.D. at the National Coral Reef Institute, Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Gwilym’s project, ‘A spatial perspective on coral reef development in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea’, draws on one of the most extensive image and field data set of the region to date. It marries advances in remote sensing, biological resource mapping and spatial analysis, whilst developing tools that enhance marine conservation.

Gwilym’s thesis examines the influence of current growth conditions and past geologic structure on regional reef development. Gwilym is driven by his belief that ‘marine management and conservation can only be successful when large scale ecological patterns are taken into account’. One of Gwilym’s goals is to characterize and develop high resolution habitat maps spanning most of the Saudi Arabian coastline. These will enhance place-based management, such as the identification of key areas for consideration as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Gwilym participated in the 2007 and 2008 Red Sea Research Expeditions, and recently completed the processing of the Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager (CASI) data from the hyperspectral surveys conducted in 2006 at the Farasan Islands.