Coral Reef and Ocean Health

The Coral Reef and Ocean Health Lab contributes knowledge, tools, and solutions to the ever-growing challenges facing our fragile marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs, and provides exceptional training and mentorship to tomorrow's leaders.

The Coral Reef and Ocean Health Lab addresses problems facing marine ecosystems at local and global scales. We seek to understand the interactions between organisms and their environment, examining their responses to both natural fluctuations and human-induced changes. By investigating these complex dynamics, we aim to understand the potential impacts on marine resources and the delicate balance of coastal ecosystems, spanning from the rich diversity of wetlands to the vibrant coral reefs. Our goal is to produce science-driven solutions to advance long-term sustainable use and conservation of our unique marine ecosystems.

Our primary research focus centers on coral reefs, as they serve as crucial indicators of ocean health. Despite occupying less than 1% of the world's ocean surface, coral reefs sustain over 25% of all marine life. However, these vital ecosystems are facing significant decline due to ongoing changes in our oceans. Over the past three decades, we've witnessed a devastating loss of 50% of our coral reefs. Consequently, the overarching mission of our research group is to actively contribute to the preservation and conservation of these invaluable coral reef ecosystems.

Our research employs various strategies to combat the decline and safeguard coral reefs. By combining experimental and fieldwork approaches, we investigate how corals and other coral reef-associated organisms respond and adapt to environmental stressors, both natural and human-induced. This enables us to discern factors that influence susceptibility or resilience, potentially revealing traits responsible for bleaching variation in corals. Through this holistic approach, we aim to reveal insights into ecosystem health, resilience, and future biodiversity trends, while offering actionable solutions for managers, policymakers, and communities.