My M.S. thesis research in the Coral Reef Health and Molecular Ecology Lab at FAU-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Joshua Voss was focused on assessing the coral host genetics of three SCTLD-susceptible species (Montastraea cavernosa, Orbicella faveolata, and Pseudodiploria clivosa) and their algal symbiont communities across Florida's Coral Reef. This research is part of the largest experimental coral outplanting and restoration project in Florida to date. The Restoration Team Trails project is a collaborative effort among several state agencies, universities, and non-profit research organizations that aims to assess the efficacy of coral restoration efforts across Florida’s Coral Reef in the face of stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD).
I have combined field-based approaches including scuba diving surveys and coral health monitoring with lab-based molecular techniques including RADseq SNP genotyping and ITS2 sequencing approaches to expand our knowledge on successful outplanting efforts on SCTLD endemic reefs along Florida's Coral Reef.
Mote Marine Lab
In the summer of 2020, I interned at the Mote Marine Laboratory Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration (IC2R3) as an intern on the Coral Reproduction and Adaptation team with Dr. Hanna Koch. During my time at IC2R3, I assisted with investigating the genetic basis of disease resistance in the threatened species Acropora cervicornis and coral sexual propagation for the purpose of resilience-based restoration.
Central Caribbean Marine Institute
I’ve also interned at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute where I gained experience in coral microbial sampling and underwater research methods through assisting with studies of the effects of healthy staghorn coral outplants on reef fish biodiversity and of the ideal benthic habitat for staghorn coral outplants; in addition to data analysis and report writing.
Additionally, while at Stony Brook University in 2019, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Dianna Padilla of the Padilla Lab on an independent undergraduate project studying the effect of local ocean acidification on two popular, Long Island harbors. This project combined water quality fieldwork with statistical analyses for an end of semester report.