Coral Reef Futures

People

Andrew Baker
Andrew Baker
Ross Cunning
Ross Cunning
Paul Jones
Paul Jones
Philip Kushlan
Philip Kushlan
Ana Palacio
Ana Palacio
Xaymara Serrano
Xaymara Serrano
Rachel Silverstein
Rachel Silverstein
Rivah Winter
Rivah Winter
 

Undergraduates, Interns and Work Studies

Nate Formel
Nate Formel
Kelly Montenero
Kelly Montenero
Katie O'Reilly
Katie O'Reilly
Emily Tripp
Emily Tripp

Lab Alumni

Adrienne M.S. Correa
Adrienne M.S. Correa
Josh Drew
Josh Drew
Nitzan Soffer
Nitzan Soffer
Craig Starger
Craig Starger
Herman Wirshing
Herman Wirshing

Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker is an Associate Professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Miami. His research focuses on the responses of coral reefs to climate change. Andrew received his undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, graduating with a Double First in Natural Sciences (Zoology), before coming to the US on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1993. As a graduate student he was a Predoctoral Fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (1995) and a Doctoral Fellow of the Australian Museum (1997). After receiving his Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Miami in 1999, he worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), first at the New York Aquarium (1999-2000), and then in the Marine Program (2001-2005), where he was also a member of the adjunct faculty at Columbia University. In 2005 he returned to the University of Miami as an Assistant Professor, and became Associate Professor in 2010. He was named a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation in 2008 for his work on the adaptive response of reef corals to climate change. He lives with his wife and three children in Coconut Grove.


Andrew C. Baker
Associate Professor
East Grosvenor 201
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Cswy.
Miami, FL 33149, USA
Phone: +1 (305) 421-4642
Fax: +1 (305) 421-4600
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Rivah Winter

Rivah graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2010 with a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. She worked for a year at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on the Computer Vision Coral Ecology project, helping to develop tools to accelerate the capture and processing of high quality digital imagery of coral reefs. Rivah began her Ph.D. program in Marine Biology at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School during the Fall of 2011, researching coral-algal symbioses. She is particularly interested in using sensitive molecular techniques such as qPCR to study the effects of different symbiont communities on coral resilience to global climate change as well as to examine how resilience is affected by the presence of additional anthropogenic stressors. Rivah is conducting research in Dr. Andrew Baker’s lab with support from a University of Miami Fellowship.

Ross Cunning

Ross received his B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science in 2007 from Duke University, where he studied marine ecology and conservation. For his undergraduate thesis, he conducted research on the behavioral ecology of cleaner fish on the Great Barrier Reef. Ross’s interests extended to corals following his graduation, and he spent a year studying coral-microbial interactions with Dr. Kim Ritchie at Mote Marine Laboratory, in Sarasota, Florida. At the Rosenstiel School, he works on the dynamics of coral symbiont communities in response to environmental change using quantitative molecular techniques. His particular interest is how the dynamics of coral-algal symbioses affect the ecological responses of corals and the resilience of coral reef ecosystems in the face of global climate change. Ross is supported by a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a University of Miami Fellowship.

Rachel Silverstein

Rachel entered the Ph.D. program in Marine Biology and Fisheries in 2007. Her research focuses on coral-algal symbiosis, specifically coral bleaching due to simulated climate change stress. She utilizes quantitative PCR technology to study the contribution of low abundance symbionts to coral resilience and thermotolerance.

Rachel’s work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Miami Graduate Student Fellowship, Rowlands Research Fellowship, the Reitmeister Award, Garden Club of America Ecological Restoration Fellowship, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Alumni Fellowship and the Captain Harry D. Vernon Memorial Scholarship. She grew up in La Jolla, CA and received a B.A. from Columbia University (’06) in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.

Publications

Silverstein R (2010) Bracing for oil. Science 239: 388.

Silverstein, R, Correa AMS, Baker AC (2012) Specificity is rarely absolute in coral-algal symbiosis: Implications for coral response to climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biology

Silverstein R, Correa AMS, LaJeunesse TC, Baker AC (2011) Novel algal symbiont (Symbiodinium spp.) diversity in reef corals of Western Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 422:63-75.

Paul Jones

Paul has started his Ph.D. at the University of Miami in the fall of 2008. His research focuses on finding which combinations of Caribbean coral hosts and symbiotic algae would be most likely to survive the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted elevations of temperature and pCO2. Corals grown in tanks will be closely studied while maintaining various temperature and pCO2 levels for an extended period of time. After identifying the types of symbiotic algae present in corals exposed to the different conditions, he will use the gene expression analysis (cDNA libraries and microarrays) to determine how the hosts and symbionts react to temperature, CO2 level and other stressors.

He is also interested in how the gene expression of symbionts varies under the same stress conditions depending on whether they are within the coral host, or free-living (in culture).  As well as performing the molecular biology work, an indication of photophysiological activity and thus photsynthetic health of the symbionts (in host and free-living) will be obtained using Pulse-Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorescence.

Paul got his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the University of Leeds in the UK and graduated in 2005 from the University of Delaware with a M.S. in Marine Biology and Biochemistry.

Philip Kushlan

Philip graduated from the University of Miami with a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology in 2008. Philip earned his M.S. from UM in 2011, studying the metabolic interaction between pea aphids and their endosymbiotic bacteria using genomic and stable isotope techniques in the lab of Alex Wilson. Philip started his Ph.D. in the MBF program at RSMAS in 2012 and is interested in using the genomic and transcriptomic resources available for Symbiodinium and coral species to investigate the differential performance and stress tolerance of coral holobionts. He is especially interested in exploring the genomic basis underlying coral-algal associations that are able to thrive in stressful conditions where others cannot. Philip is supported by a Maytag Fellowship from the University of Miami.

Philip F. Kushlan
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Fl 33149
Phone: (305) 421-4357
E-mail: pkushlan[at]rsmas.miami.edu

John Bartz

Johnny received his M.S. in Earth Systems, B.S. in Earth Systems, and B.A. in Spanish, with Interdisciplinary Honors, from Stanford University in 2011. He was a Fulbright Student Scholar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012 where he worked on Brazil’s first in situ coral nursery, laying the groundwork for long-term reef restoration project in Búzios, Rio de Janeiro. At the University of Miami, Johnny is a joint Ph.D./J.D. student at the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy and University of Miami School of Law. Johnny works with advisors Andrew Baker at the Coral Reef Futures Lab and Kenny Broad at the Abess Center to study the viability of coral translocation across thermal gradients for climate change adaptation. Johnny’s interdisciplinary research combines coral population genetics, future ocean temperature predictions, and comparative legal analysis to inform coral conservation management strategies. Johnny receives funding from the University of Miami Fellowship, Dean's Merit Scholarship, and Beverly Bodenstein Memorial Fund.

Ana Palacio

Ana graduated from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia in 2010 with a B.S. in Biology. After that she worked for five months at the Universidad del Valle on a project on coral reef monitoring and resilience in Gorgona Island National Natural Park (Colombia), comparing different coral reef monitoring methods used in the tropical eastern Pacific. Ana is supported by a Colciencias scholarship from the Columbian government, and is interested in using molecular tools to study Pocillopora and its vulnerability to climate change.

Xaymara Serrano

MOTE

Currently, Xaymara is a graduate student at the Rosesntiel School pursuing her Ph.D. in Marine Biology with funds from the Living Marine Resource Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) and the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico in 2004, and a Master’s degree in Marine Biology from the Rosenstiel School in 2008. Her present research project focuses on investigating the connectivity of coral populations at deep and shallow sites in the Florida Keys and US Virgin Islands. Using population genetic markers (microsatellites) in four important species of scleractinian reef coral found over a wide depth range, she can estimate the gene flow within these species between different depths. Results obtained will allow the assessment of the extent to which deep sites might serve as sources of local recruitment for nearby shallow sites that are affected by extreme events, such as coral bleaching.

Xaymara M. Serrano
Marine Biology and Fisheries
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway
Miami, Florida, 33149
Phone: (305) 421-4863
E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Herman Wirshing

Part of Herman’s research involves utilizing the genes associated with the biomineralization of the coral’s calcium carbonate skeleton, and using that genetic information as proxies for the evolution of the coral skeleton.

He is also interested in recovering more recent evolutionary events among corals and their close relatives, the octocorals, at the intraspecific or population level. Using microsatellite genetic markers, he is aiming to elucidate the genetic connectivity of the gorgonian coral Plexuara flexuosa. A better understanding of the gene flow among individuals and how well populations are genetically structured within and among reefs will give marine conservationists tools by which they can better manage reef ecosystems.

Herman graduated from Florida State University in 1998 with a B.S. in Biology and afterwards completed a directed individual study on the symbiosis of anemone fish. He got his M.S. from the Oceanographic Center at Nova Southeaster University in 2003 for studies the molecular systematics and taxonomy of gorgonian octocorals and he began his Ph.D. program, under the advisement of Dr. Andrew Baker, at the University of Miami in 2006.

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Tel: 305-421-4357

Nate Formel

Nate Formel is a first year Masters student in Marine Affairs and Policy. As a work-study he maintains the aquariums, looks after corals, and lends assistance with experiments.

Kelly Montenero

Kelly Montenero is a Master's of Science student in Marine Affairs and Policy. She is a work study in the lab working as an aquarist.

Katie O’Reilly

Katie O’Reilly is a sophomore at UM with a double major in Marine Science and Biology. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, she has been working with Xaymara Serrano on deep-shallow connectivity in reef corals since October 2010.

Emily Tripp

Emily Tripp is a senior at UM with a double major in Marine Science and Biology and a minor in Ecosystem Science and Policy. She is currently working on DNA extractions of coral samples from Djibouti, with the goal of assessing the extent to which these corals host thermally tolerant symbionts.

Adrienne M.S. Correa

Adrienne graduated from the lab with her Ph.D. (with distinction, Columbia University) in 2009, and is currently a postdoc with Becky Vega Thurber at Oregon State University. She uses molecular tools to understand the total diversity of metazoan-microbial symbioses, along with their capacities to respond to environmental change. She is particularly interested in (1) the limits of flexibility and stability in associations among stony corals and their resident algal (genus Symbiodinium) and bacterial symbionts, and (2) the roles of low abundance (background) symbionts in their hosts. Much of her current work investigates the diversity, ecological impacts, and evolutionary histories of coral-associated viruses. Although a high diversity of viral types has been characterized from corals over the last decade, we are only beginning to understand the distribution, target hosts, and dynamics of viral consortia in reef ecosystems.

Nitzan Soffer

Nitzan Soffer graduated with a Master of Science in May 2009. Her  research was funded by an NSF Science Made Sensible Fellowship (she was the resident scientist at North Dade Middle School, in Opa Locka, where she worked with 7th graders to increase their interest in science), and an NSF Graduate Fellowship. Nitzan was born in Israel but grew up in central NJ. She received her undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara in 2005. After graduation she did an internship in Eilat, Israel, where she learned how to survive SCUBA emergencies while doing molecular work on fish dispersal. Nitzan is now a Ph.D. student in Becky Vega Thurber’s lab at Oregon State University.

Josh Drew

Josh Drew was a Master’s student in the Baker lab when it was at Columbia University. He went on to do a Ph.D. with Paul Barber at Boston University (now at UCLA) and is currently a postdoc in the Biodiversity Synthesis Center at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. His webpage is: www.halichoeres.org

Craig Starger

Craig Starger was a Ph.D. student in the Baker lab when it was at Columbia University, and did much of his work at the American Museum of Natural History. He graduated in 2007, and went on to postdoctoral positions at Boston University, UCLA, and the Smithsonian Institution. He has conducted field work in numerous countries in all major oceans, and has worked in collaboration with NGOs such as the Wildlife Conservation Society and Conservation International, and numerous foreign universities and governments. Craig also holds an Advanced Certificate in Environmental Policy, Politics and Law from Columbia University, which instilled an early and ongoing interest in policy. Craig is currently a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development, Asia Bureau. He is looking forward to learning how the conservation of biodiversity and environment can align with sustainable human development projects at USAID.