Research for Conservation Action

This page highlights our main publications based on their use and interest from partners. Download them directly from here or follow the links to the website pages for more information. Navigation tabs are above.  

global policy & conservation

Bell, J, Cheung W, De Silva S, Gasalla M, Frusher S, Hobday A, Lam V, Lehodey P, Pecl G, Samoilys M, Senina I (2016) Impacts and effects of ocean warming on the contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to food security. In: Laffoley, D., & Baxter, J.M. (eds). 2016. Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, Scale, Effects and Consequences. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. pp. 456. Download PDF

Samoilys, M., Pabari, M., Andrew, T., Maina, G.W., Church, J., Momanyi, A., Mibei, B., Monjane, M., Shah, A., Menomussanga, M., Mutta, D. (2015). Resilience of Coastal Systems and Their Human Partners in the Western Indian Ocean. Nairobi, Kenya: IUCN ESARO, WIOMSA, CORDIO and UNEP Nairobi Convention. x + 74pp.Download PDF

Obura DO, Burgener V, Nicoll ME, Ralison HO & Scheren P (2015) The Northern Mozambique Channel. Setting the foundations for a regional approach to marine governance.Go to project page “A Background Document WWF International and CORDIO East Africa”

Obura, D.O., Church, J.E. and Gabrié, C. (2012). Assessing Marine World Heritage from an Ecosystem Perspective: The Western Indian Ocean. World Heritage Centre, United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 124 p.Download the report; Policy brief- English / French; Go to project page

H.-O. Pörtner, R. J. Scholes, A. Arneth, D.K.A. Barnes, M.T. Burrows, S.E. Diamond, C.M. Duarte, W. Kiessling, P. Leadley, S. Managi, P. McElwee, G. Midgley, H.T. Ngo, D.Obura, U. Pascual, M. Sankaran, Y.J. Shin, A.L. Val: Overcoming the coupled climate and biodiversity crises and their societal impacts. Science (2023). DOI: Download Paper

Stefanoudis, P. V.Talma, S.Fassbender, N.Swanborn, D.Ochieng, C. N.Mearns, K.Komakoma, J. D.Otwoma, L. M.Mbije, N. E.Osuka, K. E.Samoilys, M.Shah, N.Samaai, T.Trotzuk, E.Tuda, A.Zivane, F.Wagner, D., & Woodall, L. C. (2023). Stakeholder-derived recommendations and actions to support deep-reef conservation in the Western Indian OceanConservation Letters16, e12924. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12924

Obura D, Agrawal A, DeClerck F, Donaldson J, Dziba L, et al. (2023) Prioritizing sustainable use in the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation 2(1): e0000041. Download Paper

Herbert-Read, J.E., Thornton, A., Amon, D.J. et al. A global horizon scan of issues impacting marine and coastal biodiversity conservation. Nat Ecol Evol 6, 1262–1270 (2022). Download Paper

Obura, D.O.DeClerck, F.Verburg, P.H.Gupta, J.Abrams, J.F.Bai, X.Bunn, S.Ebi, K.L., et al. (2022). Achieving a nature- and people-positive future. One Earth Download Paper.


C. A. Simpfendorfer, M. R. Heithaus, M. R. Heupel, M. A. MacNeil, E. Harvey, C. S. Sherman, M. Samoilys, K. Osuka et al., Science 380, 1155 (2023). 


Obura, D., Gudka, M., Samoilys, M. et al. Vulnerability to collapse of coral reef ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean. Nat Sustain 5, 104–113 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00817-0

Stefanoudis, P.Fassbender, N.Samimi-Namin, K.Adam, P. A.Ebrahim, A.Harlay, J.Koester, A.Samoilys, M.Sims, H.Swanborn, D.Talma, S.Winter, S., & Woodall, L. (2022). Trait-based approaches reveal that deeper reef ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean are functionally distinct. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12924

Jacobs Z.  L., Yool A., Jebri F., Srokosz M, van Gennip S., Kelly S. J., Roberts M, Sauer W., Queirós A. M., Osuka K. E., Samoilys M., Becker A. E., Popova E, Key climate change stressors of marine ecosystems along the path of the East African coastal current, Ocean & Coastal Management, 208 (2021)

Osuka K. E, McClean C., Stewart B. D, Bett B. J., Le Bas T., Howe J., Abernerthy C., Yahya S., Obura D., Samoilys M.,Characteristics of shallow and mesophotic environments of the Pemba Channel, Tanzania: Implications for management and conservation, Ocean & Coastal Management, 200 (2021). 


Fox, M. D., Cohen, A. L., Rotjan, R. D.,
Mangubhai, S., Sandin, S. A., Smith, J.
E., et al. (2021). Increasing coral reef
resilience through successive marine
heatwaves. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL094128.


Obura D.O., Katerere Y., Mayet M., Kaelo D., Msweli S., Mather K., Harris J., Louis M., Kramer R., Teferi T., et al. (2021). Integrate biodiversity targets from local to global levels. Science. 373: 746-748. doi.org/10.1126/science.abh2234

Obura D. O., Aeby G., Amornthammarong N., Appeltans W., Bax N, Bishop J., Brainard R. E., Chan S., Fletcher P., Gordon T. A. C., Gramer L,. Gudka M., Osuka K., Samoilys M., et al.  (2019) Coral Reef Monitoring, Reef Assessment Technologies, and Ecosystem-Based Management. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:580. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00580

Cowburn, B., Samoilys, M. A., Osuka, K., Klaus, R., Newman, C., Gudka, M., & Obura, D. (2019). Healthy and diverse coral reefs in Djibouti–A resilient reef system or few anthropogenic threats?. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 148, 182-193.Download paper

Samoilys M. A., Halford A., Osuka K. E. (2019) Disentangling drivers of the abundance of coral reef fishes in the Western Indian Ocean. Ecol Evol. 00:1–19 .doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5044

Barkley, A. N., Gollock, M., Samoilys, M., Llewellyn, F., Shivji, M., Wetherbee, B., & Hussey, N. E. (2019). Complex transboundary movements of marine megafauna in the Western Indian Ocean. Animal Conservation. 


Cowburn, B., Samoilys, M. A., & Obura, D. (2018). The current status of coral reefs and their vulnerability to climate change and multiple human stresses in the Comoros Archipelago, Western Indian Ocean. Marine pollution bulletin.DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.04.065.

Samoilys, M., Roche, R., Koldewey, H., & Turner, J. (2018). Patterns in reef fish assemblages: Insights from the Chagos Archipelago. PloS one, 13(1), e0191448. See paper performance metrics

Osuka, K., Kochzius, M., Vanreusel, A., Obura, D., & Samoilys, M. (2018). Linkage between fish functional groups and coral reef benthic habitat composition in the Western Indian Ocean. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 98(2), 387-400. doi:10.1017/S0025315416001399

Obura, D. O. (2015), An Indian Ocean centre of origin revisited: Palaeogene and Neogene influences defining a biogeographic realm. Journal of Biogeography.


Obura, D. (2012). The diversity and biogeography of Western Indian Ocean reef-building corals.


He, S., Green, A.L., Samoilys, M.A. et al. Waif or hybrid? Observation records of rare coloration grouper in Djibouti. Environ Biol Fish 105, 531–536 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-022-01253-5

Samoilys M, Alvarez-Filip L, Myers R, Chabanet P. Diversity of Coral Reef Fishes in the Western Indian Ocean: Implications for Conservation. Diversity. 2022; 14(2):102. https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020102

Osuka K. E., Stewart B. D, Samoilys M, McClean C., Musembi P., Yahya S., Hamad, A. R., Mbugua J. (2022). Depth and habitat are important drivers of abundance for predatory reef fish off Pemba Island, Tanzania,
Marine Environmental Research, 175

Wilson, R., Sailley, S., Jacobs, Z., Kamau, J., Mgeleka, S., Okemwa, G., Osuka K. E., Samoilys, M., et al. (2021). Large projected reductions in marine fish biomass for Kenya and Tanzania in the absence of climate mitigation. Ocean Coast. Manag. 215, 105921–11. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2021.105921

Osuka K. E., Stewart B. D, Samoilys M, Roche C., Turner J., McClean C. (2021). Protection outcomes for fish trophic groups across a range of  management regimes, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 173, A.  doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.113010.

MacNeil, M. A., Chapman, D. D., Heupel, M., Simpfendorfer, C. A., Heithaus, M., Meekan, M., … & Cinner, J. E. (2020). Global status and conservation potential of reef sharks. Nature, 583(7818), 801-806. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2519-y

Osuka K. E., Stewart B. D, Samoilys M, McClean C., Musembi P., Yahya S., Hamad, A. R., Mbugua J. (2022). Depth and habitat are important drivers of abundance for predatory reef fish off Pemba Island, Tanzania,
Marine Environmental Research, 175

Wilson, R., Sailley, S., Jacobs, Z., Kamau, J., Mgeleka, S., Okemwa, G., Osuka K. E., Samoilys, M., et al. (2021). Large projected reductions in marine fish biomass for Kenya and Tanzania in the absence of climate mitigation. Ocean Coast. Manag. 215, 105921–11. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2021.105921


Osuka, K., Kawaka, J. A., & Samoilys, M. A. (2021). Evaluating Kenya’s coastal gillnet fishery: trade-offs in recommended mesh-size regulations. African Journal of Marine Science, 43(1), 15-29. Download PDF

Rehren, J.Samoilys, M.Reuter, H.Jiddawi, N., & Wolff, M. (2020). Integrating resource perception, ecological surveys, and fisheries statistics: A review of the fisheries in ZanzibarReviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture301– 18.


de Mitcheson, Y. J. S., Linardich, C., Barreiros, J. P., Ralph, G. M., Aguilar-Perera, A., Afonso, P., … & Nair, R. J. (2020). Valuable but vulnerable: Over-fishing and under-management continue to threaten groupers so what now?. Marine Policy, 116, 103909.Download paper

Samoilys, M. A., Osuka, K., Mussa, J., Rosendo, S., Riddell, M., Diade, M., … & Koldewey, H. (2019). An integrated assessment of coastal fisheries in Mozambique for conservation planning. Ocean & Coastal Management, 182, 104924.Download pdf

Samoilys M., Osuka K., Muthiga N., Harris A. (2017). Locally managed fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean: a review of past and present initiatives, iv + 40p.WIOMSA. WIOMSA Book Series 17. Download pdf

Samoilys, M., et al. “Artisanal fisheries on Kenya’s coral reefs: Decadal trends reveal management needs.” Fisheries Research 186 (2017): 177-191.Download paper

Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y., Craig, M. T., Bertoncini, A. A., Carpenter, K. E., Cheung, W. W., Choat, J. H., … & Liu, M. (2013). Fishing groupers towards extinction: a global assessment of threats and extinction risks in a billion dollar fishery. Fish and fisheries, 14(2), 119-136.Download paper

Kawaka, Joan A., et al. “Developing locally managed marine areas: Lessons learnt from Kenya.” Ocean & Coastal Management 135 (2017): 1-10. Download paper

Robinson J and Samoilys MA (Co-editors) (2013) Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations in the Western Indian Ocean: Research for Management. WIOMSA/SIDA/SFA/CORDIO. WIOMSA Book Series 13.Download the book

Policy Brief – Recommendations for sustainable and responsible fishing in Kenya’s coastal artisanal fisheries. Samoilys, M.A, Maina, G.W, Ater, S. & Osuka, K. (October 2011).Download the policy briefGo to project page

social science and sustainable development

Obura D. O. (2020). Getting to 2030 – Scaling effort to ambition through a narrative model of the SDGs, Marine Policy, 117,

Bennett NJ, Katz L, Yadao-Evans W, Ahmadia GN, Atkinson S, Ban NC, Dawson NM, de Vos A, Fitzpatrick J, Gill D, Imirizaldu M, Lewis N, Mangubhai S, Meth L, Muhl E-K, Obura D, et al. (2021) Advancing Social Equity in and Through Marine Conservation.
Front. Marine Science. 8:711538. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.711538

Gupta J, Liverman D, Bai X, Gordon C, Hurlbert M, Inoue CYA, Jacobson L, Kanie N, Lenton TM, Obura D, Otto IM (2021) Reconciling safe planetary targets and planetary justice: why should social scientists engage with planetary targets? Earth System Governance  10:100122. doi.org/10.1016/j.esg.2021.100122

Obiene S., Shilabukha K., Muga G., Ojwang L., Owuor M.A. (2022). Understanding of Sustainable Development Goals among communities living adjacent to mangroves in Kenya. Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science, 1/2022, 59-73. doi.org/10.4314/wiojms.si2022.1.5