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Director of CORDIO in East Africa and Adjunct Fellow, Pwani University

Dr Obura is an Adjunct Faculty at Pwani Univeristy, Kenya, and Adjunct Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia.

His specialisation is in climate resilience/adaptation – evolution/biogeography. He is also the coordinator for CORDIO East Africa, supporting activities in mainland Africa and Indian Ocean island states, including research, monitoring and capacity building of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems. A primary focus is the implications of global and local threats to coral reef health and their long term prospects and provision of socio-economic benefits. With the future of coral reefs in serious question, their role as an indicator of impending changes to other natural and human-dominated ecosystems is increasingly critical, to prepare for and mitigate future disasters. He received a PhD from the University of Miami in 1995 on coral bleaching and life history strategies, which has developed into a primary research interest in climate change, coral bleaching and resilience of coral reefs. Other areas of work include the development of participatory monitoring and research tools with artisanal fishers in East Africa, and remote-reef surveys such as in the Phoenix Islands, central Pacific, and in the central and western Indian Ocean. David chairs IUCN’s Coral Specialist Group, is on multiple global coral reef and oceans monitoring and research groups, as well as the Earth Commission.


  • –present
    Adjunct Fellow, The University of Queensland