Leslie Marie Henderson, Coral Reef Initiative Coordinator for the Territory of the Virgin Islands, present this lecture on Thursday, December 8, 2016. Coral monitoring has been ongoing in the territory since 2001 and many interesting trends in reef health have emerged. Each year information on corals, fish, invertebrates and water quality are collected by local researchers and analyzed to compare against previous years. How have reefs have responded to disturbances such as the 2005 major bleaching event? How has the protection of fish spawning aggregations influenced fish populations? How is the Indo-Pacific lionfish invasion progressing? Where are the reefs with the highest coral cover or the highest diversity? Come out and learn the answers to all of these questions about your local reef ecosystems!
Leslie Henderson was born and raised in North Carolina. She moved to the Virgin Islands in 2009 and obtained her Masters in Marine and Environmental Science at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI). While at UVI she worked on a variety of project topics including sedimentation impacts, ciguatera fish poisoning, coral monitoring, fish spawning aggregations, and herbivore impacts on corals. In 2014 she left UVI to work for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources in the Coastal Zone Management Program. She manages a variety of projects including primary scientific research on reef ecosystems, community outreach, coastal restoration and marine planning while also serving as a scientific advisor on the coastal zone permit review team.