Getting to Know U
- Leicester, England
- Intended Degree:
- Ph.D., Marine Biology and Fisheries
A native of Leicester, England, Paul Jones was weaned on the eloquent and compassionate voice of Sir David Attenborough, the documentary filmmaker who brought exotic species and dynamic scientific breakthroughs to the masses. A budding adventurer, Jones watched Attenborough stalk migrating whales along the Pacific coastline, observe now endangered amphibians in the Amazonian rainforests and hypothesize why the dinosaurs may have gone extinct, a combination that led Jones to pursue his own journeys of scientific discovery.
After earning his bachelor’s of science (with honors) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds, Jones embarked on a yearlong eye-opening trip round the world; including a conservation expedition in the Coral Triangle. “I spent 10 weeks living in a house on stilts on an uninhabited (except for monkeys, sand flies and a pig) island off the north of Borneo,” says Jones. “Spending each day SCUBA diving to survey fish and corals, confirmed that this was the field of study I was meant for.”
Energized, Jones got his master’s degree in Marine Biology and Biochemistry from the University of Delaware, then spent two years as manager of the Rosenstiel School’s Coral Reef Conservation Research Lab before applying to the School’s Marine Biology and Fisheries Ph.D. program. Working alongside marine biologist and Rosenstiel assistant professor, Dr. Andrew Baker, Jones is now trying his best to give precious coral reefs a fighting chance. “Climate change is having devastating effects on the delicate balance between corals and their symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae). I’m interested in how these changes affect symbiosis at the molecular level, what changes are occurring in the gene expression of the zooxanthallae and the host, and how does stress affect the photosynthetic efficiency of zooxanthallae. The grand aim is to find out causes of bleaching, find ways to predict bleaching events more accurately, and ultimately, find potential ways to mitigate it.”
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