He is a Kenyan national born in 1966. His research interests focus on the ecology and dynamics of natural systems under the combined influence of climate change and impacts of human interactions with the environment. His concrete work has been in the areas of coral stress, bleaching and climate change impacts, adaptive capacity and human ecology under environmental change, Networking, communications and capacity building and policy and management.
Since 1999 Dr. Obura’s primary employment has been the East Africa Coordinator of the activities of the project on Coral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO). In addition, his other current positions and commitment include: Chair of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Working Group on Climate Change and Coral Reefs, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences (Centre for Marine Studies) at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and Chief Scientist with the Phoenix Islands Conservation Project, Kiribati.
He is credited with raising more than US$ 1 million as personal research and institutional grants from various programmes, awards and internships since 1997. The sources include Rockfeller Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, National Geographic Society, IUCN, International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Research within the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida/SAREC). CORDIO has been his primary contribution to building up research and capacity in the WIO region, as a vehicle for disbursing funds to other scientists and for training. Dr Obura’s most significant contributions have been in: developing his own research programme in coral bleaching and regional reef resilience, developing CORDIO East Africa as a home-grown capacity building and research vehicle in the region, promoting the development of research areas outside of his own expertise (artisanal fisheries, socio-economic monitoring and presenting East African and WIO science and issues in global marine research and conservation forums.
He has produced over 100 publications many of them in peer reviewed journals and others as secondary literature, conference contributions and workshop outputs. He has also edited four books.
It is our belief that these awards will inspire emerging scientists to emulate these four distinguished scientists and excel in their fields of specialization. It is hoped that these awards will also be cultivating the culture of competition for quality and excellence in the region.