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Marine Science Seminars

Seminars held at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Departmental Seminars, 2021

Friday, February 5, 1:00 pm, Zoom

"Microorganisms in the health and resilience of coral reefs"

Hannah E. Epstein, Ph.D.
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow 
Department of Microbiology, Oregon University
Vega Thurber Lab

Research:  Coral reef microbial ecology and its role in ecosystem health and climate resilience.

Abstract: Coral reefs are among the most extraordinary ecosystems worldwide. Now threatened by anthropogenic influences such as climate change and local human disturbances, it has become essential to identify and understand the processes that strengthen reef recovery, health and resilience. In this presentation, I will outline and discuss the role that microorganisms play in coral host and reef ecosystem health in the face of both global and local stressors, including how we may use this knowledge of the micro-scale to inform and improve restoration, conservation and management initiatives. Using two coral reef systems in the Pacific as examples, I will show time-series data on the dynamics of the coral microbiome and discuss new genetic and ecological data on the critical roles microbes play in reef resilience.

Bio: Dr. Hannah Epstein is a coral reef microbial ecologist and postdoctoral fellow in the Vega Thurber Lab at Oregon State University. Her scientific focus is on the microbial communities of tropical reef-building corals and coral reef ecosystems with an emphasis on the impacts of anthropogenic pressures that include climate change, local human disturbance and invasive species. Hannah completed her PhD in 2019 on the dynamics of the coral microbiome in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science under the supervision of Prof. Madeleine van Oppen, after which she completed her first postdoctoral position in the Baum Lab at the University of Victoria. She now holds an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology to conduct work on the impacts of invasive rat eradication on coral reef health.

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