Research & Publications


I am an interdisciplinary marine scientist with a focus on tropical coastal ecosystems and small scale-fishing communities. I combine social, ecological and climate data to explore issues around food security, resilience and marine conservation. My work examines how marine governance and management can support both marine biodiversity AND sustainable livelihoods for fishing communities.

I am now in the third year of my PhD at the University of Edinburgh. My PhD research is focused in southwest Madagascar, working with traditional Vezo fishing communities in the Velondriake Locally Managed Marine Area. I started my PhD as a coral reef ecologist but after living in a Vezo village for two months, and witnessing first-hand how Vezo lives are inextricably intertwined with the health of the reef, it no longer made sense to study the reefs independent of the social context surrounding them. As such, over the course of my PhD, I have increasingly incorporated social science research and techniques to link the health of the local reef ecosystem with coastal livelihoods and food security.

Alongside social-ecological research, I still investigate how recent, current and future climate shapes the existence and resilience of coral reefs. My recent lead-author paper is the first report of a tropical cyclone on the unique and diverse coral ecosystems southwest Madagascar. I have done research on the topic of climate refugia for coral reefs. Climate refugia are areas that for a range of physical, biological and/or ecological characteristics maybe more resilient to a changing climate. In 2018, I was the lead scientist in identifying the Revillagigedo Archipelago Marine Protected Area as a potential location of coral refugia due to the dynamic oceanographic conditions in which the corals are surviving.


Carter, A.L., Gilchrist, H., Dexter, K.G., Gardner, C.J., Gough, C., Rocliffe, S. and Wilson, A., 2022. Cyclone Impacts on Coral Reef Communities in Southwest MadagascarFrontiers in Marine Science, p.639.

Carter, A.L., Wilson, A.M.W., Bello, M., Hoyos-Padilla, E.M., Inall, M.E., Ketchum, J.T., Schurer, A. and Tudhope, A.W., 2020. Assessing opportunities to support coral reef climate change refugia in MPAs: A case study at the Revillagigedo ArchipelagoMarine Policy112, p.103769.