Gazi Bay, Kwale District, Kenya — Mangrove forests are among the most productive wetland ecosystems on Earth. These tropical coastal woodlands provide crucial habitat, protect coral reefs from sedimentation, and, as demonstrated by the tsunami of 2004, play a critical role in protecting tropical coastlines. They are also one of the most threatened habitats. Historically, mangrove forests lined three-quarters of all tropical and subtropical coasts. Today, less than half of these forests remain, and an estimated two percent more are degraded each year for firewood, building materials, coastal development, and industrial shrimp fisheries. The community of Gazi Village, on the south Kenyan coast, is examining the ecosystem dynamics of replanted mangrove forests with the direction of Prof Mark Huxham, Dr James Kairo, Dr Martin Skov, and Dr Bernard Kirui.
Meet the Scientists
Prof Mark Huxham
Reader, Edinburgh Napier University
As a scientist, I have become increasingly concerned about how we can use science to answer real questions important to ordinary people, especially those who rely most directly on natural resources. This project does just that, and provides us with a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with people from Kenya and around the world in a fascinating environment. On this expedition, you will help to maintain and restore a vital ecosystem, and investigate some fundamental questions in ecology. And you will be doing this in a peaceful, picturesque, and friendly village. Welcome to Kenya!
Dr James Kairo
Principal Research Officer, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute
Dr James Kairo is Principal Research Officer for the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and specializes in the areas of mangrove ecology, restoration and management. He lives in Gazi village with his wife and three children. Dr. Kairo is responsible for organizing the project’s accommodation and laboratory space in Gazi, and for overseeing the mangrove planting and establishment.
Dr Martin Skov
Research Fellow, Bangor University, Wales, UK
Dr Martin Skov is a Research Fellow at the School of Ocean Sciences of Bangor University, where he works on saltmarsh ecosystem function, photo-physiology of rocky shore microalgal biofilms and mangrove ecology. Martin has researched mangroves since the 1990s, specializing in the ecology of East African mangrove animals, ecophysiology of crab nutrition and experimental population ecology. He is responsible for the project’s faunal component.