T Ed Roberts

Dr. T. Edward RobertsTER-3272.jpg

Quantitative Ecologist 

Lancaster Environment Center,

Lancaster University, UK


CV (Full)

Tethys Images


I am a quantitative ecologist whose research has focused on revealing the ecological processes, which create and maintain patterns of biodiversity in reef-building corals over depth. My research has a strong foundation in ecological theory and creates new breakthroughs by developing and applying novel empirical data collection techniques. I was awarded my Ph.D in 2018, and am actively involved in an array of research projects which complement my main research focus, such as ongoing work using novel molecular tools to revolutionise the known taxonomy of reef-building corals, and a project revealing global evolutionary patterns in benthic foraminifera. Currently, I am a field technician for Lancaster University, charged with organizing and running three annual field expeditions to coral reef ecosystems in Japan, Australia, and the Philippines. I am also employed as a consulting coral ecologist for a long-range field expeditions into the Coral Sea region of Australia, commissioned by Parks Australia.


I am fortunate to have spent extensive periods of time working in the field, with over 2,500 dives and an active PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification to my name. I aim to build on this experience to use new technical advances such as closed circuit rebreathers to bring my research focus to the full depth range of coral reef communities. 

7645.pngIn parallel to my research career, I have been interested in underwater photography from an early age, and co-founded the Tethys Images photography collective in 2016. I have had my images and footage published in international media, books, magazines, and scientific journals. This includes extensive media coverage of the 2016/2017 and 2020 coral bleaching events in Australia using both images and video, as well as high profile print publications, such as the cover image of the scientific journal Nature.

Academic Education

2014 – 2018. PhD in Coral Ecology James Cook University, AU

2007 – 2013. BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science, James Cook University, AU


Selected Publications

T.E. Roberts, et al. (2019). Testing biodiversity theory using species richness of reef- building corals across a depth gradient. Biology Letters. 15(10): 20190493. DOI.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0493 


T.E. Roberts, et al. (2019). Resolving the depth zonation paradox in reef-building corals. Ecology. 100(8): e0276.  DOI.org/10.1002/ecy.2761


T.E. Roberts, et al. (2016). The point count transect method for estimates of biodiversity on coral reefs: improving the sampling of rare species. PLoS ONE. 11(3): e0152335. DOI.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152335


T.E. Roberts, et al. (2015). Benthic community composition on submerged reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs. 34: p569-580. DOI.org/10.1007/s00338-015-1261-7