Research in my lab focuses on the physiological ecology of tropical reef corals.My students and I work at the organismic, population, and community levels, and take a strong hypothesis driven approach to questions that can only be answered by combining laboratory and field experimentation. We exploit multidisciplinary approaches to identify the critical processes shaping marine communities.I am particularly excited at the potential to address ecological questions through analyses of fundamental processes at the cellular and subcellular level, employing for example, molecular approaches and in hospite physiological techniques.
The majority of my research focus takes two thematic approaches. First, I study the ecology and long-term dynamics of coral reefs in order to identify temporal trends and provide a rich ecological context within which mechanistic research can be developed. Second, I study the biology of individual corals in order to better understand their basic functionality. My mechanistic research is designed to address questions that can help to understand the dynamics recorded in the ecological analyses. A major thrust of my research program involves forging explicit links between the ecological and physiological analyses of reef corals with the goal of developing the capacity to project how coral populations will change under specified conditions. This approach has considerable potential in better understanding how global climate change will affect reef corals, and we are working towards developing modeling approaches to achieve this outcome.
Research in my lab currently is funded through NSF awards in the Long Term Research in Environmental Biology program (LTREB; for work in St. John, USVI), and the Long Term Ecological Research Program (LTER; for work in Moorea).