Dr Tim Lamont (previously Gordon)

Lancaster University

Email: tim.lamont@lancaster.ac.uk

Tim is a marine biologist at Lancaster Environment Centre, with research interests in coral reef ecology and restoration. He aims to understand the processes at work on healthy reefs, in order to guide efforts to restore degraded ecosystems. Tim has carried out research on coral reefs across the Indo-Pacific region, and completed a PhD in reef bioacoustics at the University of Exeter in 2020. He started his current research fellowship at Lancaster in 2022, funded by the Royal Commission of 1851 and in collaboration with the Mars Coral Reef Restoration Programme.

Research Interests

Tim uses a range of research methods to tackle issues in coral reef ecology and restoration. Three major themes of his work are:

Ecosystem-level functions on restored coral reefs

Hundreds of organisations worldwide are investing billions of dollars in coral reef restoration as a strategy for combatting declines in reef health worldwide – but nobody really knows how well it’s working. Restoration programmes can successfully re-establish coral cover, but little is known about whether these restored ecosystems harbour the same biodiversity, deliver the same ecosystem functions and create the same socio-economic opportunities as healthy reefs. This research will evaluate the goals and progress of reef restoration at an ecosystem-wide level, with the ultimate goal of improving the effectiveness of this emerging management tool.

Bioacoustic techniques for monitoring and managing coral reefs

Sound travels very well underwater, playing a vital role in the lives of many coral reef organisms. Fish and invertebrates use sound to communicate, find food, choose a mate and navigate around their environment. Understanding coral reefs from an acoustic perspective therefore opens up a range of new tools for monitoring and managing reef ecosystems. Surveying reefs using hydrophones reveals new insights about their biological communities; using loudspeakers to modify soundscapes can alter the behavioural decisions of animals; and removing noise pollution from the environment can reduce harm caused to many reef organisms. By using our ears as well as our eyes to study coral reefs, we can better understand and protect these fragile ecosystems in a changing world.

Widening engagement with coral reef science

Coral reef conservation is a global issue – without meaningful and united action against climate change, reefs as we know them will not survive. Encouragingly, many individuals, communities and organisations are increasingly invested in pro-environmental solutions. It is therefore of paramount importance that coral reef science is effectively communicated, and open to beneficial involvement from stakeholders in a range of different sectors. By striving to deliver inclusive, well-communicated research, we can maximise the benefits that coral reef science gives to ecosystems and people worldwide.

FameLab International Final 2019

World Ocean Summit 2018

Encounter Edu – Songs of the Sea

BBC World Service: Listening to coral reefs

Oceans of Noise: Guardian Podcast

Listening to the ocean reveals a hidden world – and how we might save it

The Conversation


ITV News report on the success of Mars coral restoration efforts in Indonesia

International Coral Reef Symposium, July 2021

Selected Publications

  • Lamont TAC, Barlow J, Bebbington J, Cuckston T, Djohani R, Garrett R, Jones HP, Razak TB, Graham NAJ (2023) Hold big business to task on ecosystem restoration. Science, https://www.science.org/stoken/author-tokens/ST-1397/full
  • Razak TB, Boström-Einarsson L, Alisa CAG, Vida RT, Lamont TAC (2022) Coral reef restoration in Indonesia: A review of policies and projects. Marine Policy 137, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2021.104940
  • Lamont TAC, Williams B, Chapuis L, Prasetya ME, Seraphim MJ, Harding HR, May EB, Janetski N, Jompa J, Smith D, Radford AN, Simpson SD (2021) The sound of recovery: coral reef restoration success is detectable in the soundscape. Journal of Applied Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.14089
  • Duarte CM, Chapuis L, Collin SP, Costa DP, Devassy RP, Eguiliz VM, Erbe C, Gordon TAC et al. (2021) The soundscape of the Anthropocene ocean. Science 371 (6529): https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aba4658
  • Gordon TAC, Radford AN, Simpson SD, Meekan MG (2020) Marine restoration projects are undervalued. Science 367: 635–636, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aba9141
  • Gordon TAC, Radford AN, Davidson IK, Barnes K, McCloskey K, Nedelec SL, Meekan MG, McCormick MI, Simpson SD (2019) Acoustic enrichment can enhance fish community development on degraded coral reef habitat. Nature Communications 10: 5414, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13186-2
  • Gordon TAC, Radford AN, Simpson SD (2019) Grieving environmental scientists need support. Science 366: 193, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaz2422
  • Gordon TAC, Harding HR, Wong KE, Merchant ND, Meekan MG, McCormick MI, Radford AN, Simpson SD (2018) Habitat degradation negatively affects auditory settlement behavior of coral reef fishes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115: 5193–5198, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1719291115