Finding the Mesophotic: A systematic review and meta-analyses collating a research field

Internship position (12 ECTS)
Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems (MCEs) are tropical and sub-tropical reef systems containing photosynthetic hard corals. They begin at 30m depth, a definition based on difficulties of access, and end with the deepest-occurring photosynthesising hard coral for the system. These deeper reefs are subject to lower light levels than shallow reefs and may avoid a number of pressures localised to the surface, such as storm damage. This has resulted in the suggestion that MCEs may act as lifeboats for shallow reefs. Research has been conducted deeper than 30m on tropical reefs for over half a century. Despite this, multiple name changes and difficulties of access have resulted in a scattered evidence base. Recent efforts have sought to bring researchers together and the field now has a well-developed sense of identity and direction. The next phase of development in the field brings together the literature into a single corpus ( and analyses all currently available data for a given topic. This project seeks to identify knowledge gaps, and where possible conduct meta-analyses after an extensive systematic review. Questions are most likely to be ecological in nature, but any area providing sufficient data may be studied. Further background and methodological detail can be found in the published protocol paper at - Students will: • Screen and extract data from the literature base identified by the broad project in collaboration with others. • Formulate their own study questions in consultation with project leaders for a meta-analysis project on a sub-section of the dataset. • Conduct the statistical analysis and write up, with guidance, as their own ‘mini-project’.
Students will learn to use the online systematic review software EPPI Reviewer 4, as well as how to conduct a meta-analysis in the programming language R. Previous experience of systematic review and meta-analysis is not essential, but welcome.
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Reference Number: RP-48291