I am currently working on my Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. I completed my Master's degree at the School of Marine at Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University in August 2012 and in October 2012 I participated in a month-long coral research cruise to Micronesia aboard the M/Y Alucia with scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

My current research focuses on coral photobiology and histopathology. More specifically, I am investigating the Hawaiian blue/purple coral Montipora flabellata and the chromoproteins that provide them with their bright blue pigmentation. Little is known about this coral species or its current distribution in Kaneohe Bay. It is also unclear what role the chromoproteins play in the overall functioning of the coral though it is believed they may serve as photoprotectants to the coral's symbiotic algae. This research will seek to answer questions of distribution of the species, function of the chromoproteins, and whether possession on the chromoproteins in high concentrations causes a colony to be more susceptible to thermal bleaching than those without.

I study corals because they are beautiful and fascinating. Like many other marine conservationists, I am witness to their ongoing decline, and I am hoping that my contributions to science may lead to solutions to the problems threatening coral reefs today.

Colony counts in Micronesia. Photo by Luis Lamar.