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 Robert Yarlett

Robert Yarlett

PhD Student

 Amory C360


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


I am a marine scientist broadly interested in the responses of marine organisms and ecosystems to environmental change. I graduated from an integrated master’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton in 2012, after which I broadened my experience through internships at research institutions and conservation charities in the UK and abroad, including the Natural History Museum, ZSL, and Wildtracks, Belize. During my degree my research projects investigated the ecological function of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-like proteins in Acropora nobilis, and symbiont assemblages in Porites lobata from the variable environmental conditions of the Arabian Gulf.

For my PhD, I am aiming to quantify the contributions of fish to carbonate cycling on coral reefs. This will be done through a combination of studies on grazing, bioerosion, sediment re-working, and intestinally precipitated calcium carbonate production, primarily focusing on parrotfish.

Broad research specialisms:

Marine Biology, Coral Reef Ecology, Geomorphology of Coral Reefs, Oceanography, Environmental Change


MSci Marine Biology (2012), University of Southampton, First Class Honours.


Research projects

Project Title: Quantifying Contributions of Fish to Coral Reef Carbonate Cycling and Modelled Responses to Environmental Change.

Supervisors: Prof. Chris Perry (University of Exeter), Dr. Rod Wilson (University of Exeter), Dr. Steve Simpson (University of Exeter), Dr. Alastair Harborne (University of Queensland), Prof. Simon Jennings (Cefas).

Funding Body: NERC

Project Description:
The project aims to quantify the contributions of dominant bioeroding fish species, primarily parrotfish, to carbonate cycling on coral reefs. This will be carried out through investigations of parrotfish foraging behavior, grazing, bioerosion and sediment re-working activities, combined with studies of the quantity and rate of intestinal calcium carbonate production. The project will then investigate how threats such as overfishing could impact the ecosystem functions performed by parrotfish and implications of this for coral reef carbonate cycling. This work can be combined with wider carbonate budget data and used in assessments of reef growth. Field work will be based on a range of reef habitats in the Maldives, where few studies of the ecosystem roles of parrotfish have taken place. The project is funded by a NERC GW4+ DTP PhD studentship.


Yarlett, R.T., Johnson, K.G., Hunter, W., Darrell, J. Coral Reef Baseline Data from Historical Photographs. Poster session presented at: RCUK 2013. Proceedings of the 16th Reef Conservation UK meeting; 2013 Dec 7; London, UK.


Supervision / Group

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