Skip to main content


Relationship between coral reef condition and human health

Research Achievements

Relationship between coral reef condition and human health

A major research thrust of our IGERT is investigating the factors that govern the relationship between coral reef condition and human health. Our trainee-led Marine Conservation and Health team, including expert coral reef and human health researchers, recently completed a study: "The linkage between ecosystem condition and human well-being in Pacific Island nations" investigating links between human health and well being and degradation of marine ecosystems in the Pacific. The study accounted for external economic factors by looking at the degree to which Pacific nations were economically dependent upon external nations. We found that in relatively independent countries, less degraded reefs were associated more with infectious diseases and in societies with more chronic diseases, reef condition was more degraded. This relationship was not found for nations with large external economic influence, where chronic disease was heightened, but reef ecological state was generally higher.