STT = St. Thomas Campus,
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
STX = Albert A. Sheen Campus,
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
STJ = St. John Academic Center,
St. John, US Virgin Islands
Area: Coral reef ecology, marine disease dynamics
Abstract of Research: The long-term goal of my research is to link local and regional stressors to the processes that structure complex coral communities and understand how these translate to ecosystem functioning. To accomplish this goal, my research combines field-based ecological studies with advanced analytical techniques. This research includes conducting intensive field studies specifically targeted towards quantifying coral susceptibility and resistance to mortality-causing stressors, with a particular emphasis on the risk factors involved in coral disease incidence, severity and spread. I then use the results of these studies and data from established monitoring programs to parameterize empirically-based modeling tools used to understand how colony-level characteristics (e.g., growth rates) and impacts (e.g., mortality due to disease) translate to ecosystem-level dynamics, with the intent of identifying specific properties that maintain resilience in diverse coral communities.