Francisco J. Soto Santiago
Main Advisor: Dr. Edwin Hernández-Delgado
Co-Advisor: Dr. Maritza Barreto
Dissertation Research Topic/questions:
My research project will focus on the restoration of coral reefs by helping to develop a low-tech, community-based coral aquaculture and restoration program to improve the condition of the reefs. This would integrate base communities to be part of the solution and not the problem, at the same time providing the community with hands-on experience in the conservation of marine resources, in this case coral reefs. I would like to study whether ramets of important reef building corals resistant to degraded environmental conditions in certain reefs (e.g.,Acropora palmata, Acropora cervicornis and Porites spp.), can be grown to repopulate damaged reefs, eventually producing reefs that are more resistant to environmental degradation, fostering enhanced ecosystem resilience.
Master of Sciences in Biological Oceanography, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, 2011
Bachelor of Sciences in Coastal Marine Biology, University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, 2005
Coastal problems have always marked a negative spot in the development of the Puerto Rican archipelago. Marine ecosystems have been damaged by a sort of long-term anthropogenic stressors which have caused paramount negative socio-economic impacts. The complexity of these impacts has significantly increased with the combined effects of increasing localized human stresses, and stronger, recurrent large-scale phenomena such as climate change. These have resulted in increasing challenges for natural scientists, economists, sociologists, and decision makers regarding finding solutions. I have learned that my background in the discipline of Marine Sciences can be a significant tool to help me seek solutions to some of these problems. I have also realized that the development of interdisciplinary studies of Social and Natural Sciences is also an important gadget to understand how people can interact with their environment in a more positive way. My main research interest is to integrate different areas of social and natural sciences to try to solve these types of problems.
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