Studying coral reefs in Papua New Guinea

The Pacific Islands are a region where societies are closely linked to the coral reef ecosystems surrounding them. At the same time, the region’s reefs are strongly threatened by global environmental and socio-economic changes.

The close social-ecological connectedness in the area potentially reinforces these threats and results in a situation where environmental change can have particularly severe consequences for local societies. Yet, research into the resilience of these linked social-ecological reef systems in the face of global changes is in its infancy.

REPICORE combines social and natural sciences for an integrated assessment to achieve a more holistic understanding of coupled social-ecological systems. Marine resource use and coastal livelihoods, as well as marine governance arrangements, are examined across three Melanesian countries in conjunction with field assessments of reef fish and benthic communities. This is combined with meta-analyses of reef fish community and associated socio-economic data. The overall aim is an improved understanding of social-ecological feedbacks that erode or strengthen resilience.
The project aims to provide important and much-needed information to develop strategies to strengthen the resilience and sustainable use of Pacific Island coral reef systems. It brings together leading international experts on social-ecological resilience assessment, and links up with institutions in the Pacific Islands. While this region and its societies are likely to bear the brunt of global change, it still does not receive the necessary scientific attention to adequately understand and address the social-ecological consequences of global change.

REPICORE constitutes a timely and response-oriented research project to advance the understanding of one of the most urgent, but least understood issues related to global change. It is funded by the German Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF) in the frame of the “Research for Sustainable Development Framework Program” (FONA), and forms part of the ICSU and UNESCO-sponsored “Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society” (PECS).

REPICORE website


(Former) Project Staff (Germany)


International Project Partners

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)

Sebastian Ferse

Akuila Cakacaka

Janne Rohe

Julie Day

Amanda Ford

Sonia Bejarano



Camilo Mora, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography, University of Hawaii Manoa
2424 Maile Way Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 USA
Phone: +1 (808) 956 7093

Joshua E. Cinner, PhD
ARC Australian Research Fellow
Principal Research Fellow/Associate Professor
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, QLD 4811
Phone: +61 (0) 7 4781 6751

Shankar Aswani, PhD
Department of Anthropology
Rhodes University
Grahamstown 6140
South Africa
Phone: +27 46 603 8231
Fax: +27 46 622 5570

Albert Norström, PhD
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Kräftriket 2B
Stockholm University
Phone: +46 (0)734 60 70 68
PECS website

Maggy M. Nugues, PhD
Maître de conférences EPHE / Associate Professor
Laboratoire d'Excellence “CORAIL”
Université de Perpignan (UPVD)
Centre de Biologie et d'Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne (CBETM)
58 Av. Paul Alduy - 66860 Perpignan cedex, France

Centre de Recherche Insulaire et Observatoire de l'Environnement (CRIOBE)
BP 1013 - 98 729, Papetoai, Moorea, Polynésie française
Phone: +33 (0)4 68 66 21 56
Fax: +33 (0)4 68 50 36 86
Link to personal webpage
Link to CRIOBE
Link to FORCE

Coastal Fisheries Programme (CFP)
Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME)
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
BP D5, 98848 Noumea, New Caledonia