Network of Women in Marine Science

Inspiring Women in Ocean Science: Andilyat Mohamed

Dr. Andilyat Mohamed is a dedicated Comorian scientist who has been actively engaged in plant ecology, specifically in phytogeography, since 2007, accumulating 16 years of experience in Comorian plant formations. She expanded her focus to marine and coastal ecosystems in 2012, concentrating on mangrove algae and seagrass. As a university professor, she delivers lectures and practical work in applied plant ecology and general botany, using special mangrove field trips to demonstrate the theory and practice of different types and their roles to students at the Faculty of Science.

In 2010, Dr. Mohamed established the National Herbarium at the University of the Comoros, where 98% of the staff are women. She also initiated the Comoros mangrove house in partnership with a local village women’s association called “JEUNE FILLE DE DOMOIBOINI .” As the national focal point for the Comoros in the WIOMN network on mangroves in WIOMSA, she authored the first publication of the 23 localities hosting mangroves on the island of Ngazidja as part of her doctoral thesis.

Currently, Andilyat is concentrating on the restoration and assessment of blue carbon in the mangroves of the Comoros, searching for a specific algorithm corresponding to the particular characteristics of amphibious Comorian ecosystems dominated by a recent lava flow substrate as part of her Habilitation to Supervise Research (HDR).

Tell us, what led you to pursue a career in marine/ocean science?

What pushed me to pursue a marine career was the fact that I read the bibliography of an official document printed in 2002 that said there were 5 mangrove sites on the island of Ngazidja. However, when I supervised a master’s student in 2012, we worked on 7 sites, and I knew that there were others. In 2016, I used remote sensing to find out for the first time that the island has mangroves in 23 localities and that the ecosystems had been reduced and divided into several sites by lava flows. Since then, I’ve been working closely with the islands’ conservationists.

As a marine/ocean professional, what critical lessons have you learned? Share your insights and experience with others who aspire to become experts in this field.

Mangroves are more capricious than humans, they are mute but shout loudly in the silence by releasing CO2 when under anthropic pressure or by trapping carbon when conserving and protecting the site.


In celebration of International Women’s Day theme “Invest in Women, accelerate progress”, what progress do you envision for women in the Western Indian Ocean region?

Comorian women are fortunate to be among the few countries where inheritance is matrimonial. This gives them authority and independence in social activities. It is with this vision that I am working with my team to ensure the survival of the mangroves of the Comoros.  I started by joining forces with the Jeune Fille Association.