Dr. Amanda Ford

Course Coordinator: MS306, MS312, MS315

Postgraduate Students: Janice Taga, Wendy Powell, Susana Vulawalu, Amelia Bai, Joycinette Botleng

Office: M.204

Telephone: +679 32 32836

Email: amanda.ford@usp.ac.fj

Website: https://www.amandakford.com

Educational qualifications:

  • PhD (Coral Reef Ecology), University of Bremen, Germany
  • MSc (Biological Sciences – track Limnology and Oceanography), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • BSc (Biological Sciences), University of Exeter, United Kingdom
  • PGCTT, University of the South Pacific, Fiji

Research Interests:

  • Coral reef ecology
  • Local human impacts on coral reef ecosystems
  • Ecosystem resilience and alternative regimes
  • Benthic cyanobacterial mats
  • Functional roles (e.g. of sea cucumbers)
  • Customary coastal resource management
  • Pollution impacts in marine systems


Having spent extended periods in the Pacific since 2015 for her PhD and postdoctoral research, Amanda started as a full-time Lecturer in Marine Studies at USP at the start of 2020. She is now coordinating MS306 (Coral Reef Ecology and Management), MS312 (Marine Pollution), and MS315 (Marine Spatial Planning), and supervising several postgraduate students (Janice Taga, Wendy-Jane Powell, Susana Vulawalu, Amelia Bai, Joycinette Botleng).

Amanda has collected a large amount of international research experience prior to moving to the USP. After graduating from her undergraduate degree at the University of Exeter, she moved to the CARMABI research station in Curaçao (Caribbean) as an intern, which eventually evolved into the start of her MSc studies at the University of Amsterdam. The MSc programme subsequently opened up the opportunity to move to Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) in early 2012, which she ended up remaining on for a full year. Spending such extended periods at both world-renowned research stations has shaped Amanda as a person and a scientist.

Following the completion of her MSc, she moved to the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany in 2013 to pursue a PhD within the REPICORE project (Resilience of Pacific Island coral reef social-ecological systems in times of global change), led by Dr. Sebastian Ferse and funded by the BMBF. Her field campaigns took her for extended periods to Papua New Guinea and Fiji, giving her an entirely new perspective to the system on which she was working. She submitted her PhD dissertation in June 2017, entitled “Influences of Pacific Island human communities on benthic coral reef functioning and resilience” – to put it more simply, she looked at how human societies on small Pacific islands affect their adjacent coral reefs.

After her PhD, Amanda was employed as a postdoctoral researcher, first at ZMT and then at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) in Sweden where her research focused on using network thinking to integrate data such as genetics and social relationships/resource usage into marine management planning. Amanda has established strong collaborations with several regional organisations and international institutions and is now continuing to pursue her research into coral reefs – their main threats, alternative regimes, resilience, and management – alongside her lecturing role.


Peer-reviewed publications

Koester A, AK Ford, SCA Ferse, V Migani, N Bunbury, C Sanchez, C Wild (2021) First insights into coral recruit and juvenile abundances at remote Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles. PLoS ONE, 16(12), e0260516.

Ford AK, PM Visser, M van Herk, E Jongepier, V Bonito (2021) First insights into the impacts of benthic cyanobacterial mats on fish herbivory functions on a nearshore coral reef. Scientific Reports, 11 (1), 1-14

Marcos C, D Díaz, K Fietz, A Forcada, AK Ford, J Antonio García-Charton, R Goñi, P Lenfant, S Mallol, D Mouillot, M Pérez-Marcos, O Puebla, S Manel, A Pérez-Ruzafa (2021) Reviewing the ecosystem services, societal goods and benefits of marine protected areas. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 370.

Ford AK, J-B Jouffray, A Norström, BR Moore, MM Nugues, GJ Williams, S Bejarano, F Magron, C Wild, SCA Ferse (2020) Local human impacts disrupt relationships between benthic reef assemblages and environmental predictors. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, 571115.

Koester A, V Migani, N Bunbury, AK Ford, C Sanchez, C Wild (2020) Early trajectories of benthic coral reef communities following the 2015/16 coral bleaching event at remote Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles. Scientific Reports 10: 17034.

McAndrews RS, A Eich, AK Ford, S Bejarano, RR Lal, SCA Ferse (2019) Foraging by herbivorous fishes mediates algae-sediment dynamics on a nearshore coral reef. Coral Reefs 38 (3), 431-441.

Eich A, AK Ford, MM Nugues, RS McAndrews, C Wild, SCA Ferse (2019) Positive association between epiphytes and competitiveness of the brown algal genus Lobophora against corals. PeerJ, 7, e6380.

Ford AK, S Bejarano, MM Nugues, PM Visser, S Albert, SCA Ferse (2018) Reefs under Siege—the Rise, Putative Drivers, and Consequences of Benthic Cyanobacterial Mats. Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, 18.

Ford AK, A Eich, RS McAndrews, S Mangubhai, MM Nugues, S Bejarano, BR Moore, C Rico, C Wild, SCA Ferse (2018) Evaluation of coral reef management effectiveness using conventional versus resilience-based metrics. Ecological Indicators, 85, 308-317.

Lee S, AK Ford, S Mangubhai, C Wild, SCA Ferse (2018) Effects of sandfish (Holothuria scabra) removal on shallow-water sediments in Fiji. PeerJ, 6, e4773.

Lee S, AK Ford, S Mangubhai, C Wild, SCA Ferse (2018) Length-weight relationship, movement rates, and in situ spawning observations of Holothuria scabra (sandfish) in Fiji. SPC Bêche-de-mer Information Bulletin, 38, 11-14.

Ford AK, N van Hoytema, BR Moore, L Pandihau, C Wild, SCA Ferse (2017) High sedimentary oxygen consumption indicates that sewage input from small islands drives benthic community shifts on overfished reefs. Environmental Conservation, 44, 405-411.

Ford AK, S Bejarano, A Marshell, PJ Mumby (2016) Linking the biology and ecology of key herbivorous unicornfish to fisheries management in the Pacific. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 790-805.

den Haan J, J Huisman, F Dekker, L Jacomina, AK Ford, J van Ooijen, FC van Duyl, MJ Vermeij, PM Visser (2013) Fast detection of nutrient limitation in macroalgae and seagrass with nutrient-induced fluorescence. PloS ONE, 8, e68834.

Other publications:

Ford AK, Razak TB, Hakim AR, Iqbal M, Estradivari Rusandi A, Hakim A, Sapari A, Amkieltiela, Fauzi MN, Krueck N, Lazuardi ME, McGowan J, & Andradi-Brown DA (2021) MPA Zoning. In Estradivari, ME Lazuardi, A Hakim, DE Saputra, A Sapari, and DA Andradi-Brown (Ed.), Management of Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia: Status and Challenges. Jakarta, Indonesia: Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and Yayasan WWF Indonesia.

Ford AK, Estradivari, Rusandi A, Hakim A, Sapari A, Iqbal M, Amkieltiela, Claborn K, Gill D & Andradi-Brown DA (2021). MPA Management Effectiveness. In Estradivari, ME Lazuardi, A Hakim, A Sapari, and DA Andradi-Brown (Ed.), Management of Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia: Status and Challenges. Jakarta, Indonesia: Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and Yayasan WWF Indonesia.

Ford AK (2017) Influences of Pacific Island human communities on benthic coral reef functioning and resilience. PhD dissertation, University of Bremen. Available online at: https://elib.suub.uni-bremen.de/edocs/00106053-1.pdf

Lee S, SCA Ferse, AK Ford, C Wild, S Mangubhai (2017) Effect of sea cucumber density on the health of reef-flat sediments. In: Fiji’s Sea Cucumber Fishery: Advances in Science for Improved Management (eds. Mangubhai S, Lalavanua W, Purcell SW). pp 54-61. Wildlife Conservation Society, Suva, Fiji.

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