People

Thor Jensen

Alumni
Intern

Introduction

​Being born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., gave me a great appreciation for the ocean, which has persisted through my adult life. Cnidarians have always been my Phyla of choice and during a semester at BIOS I conducted an experiment to determine the effects of eutrophication on Cassiopeia. x., the upside-down jellyfish. I received my B.S. in marine biology from the University of Rhode Island in 2011. After graduation, I moved back to New York and worked in a few aquarium companies, first as an aquarium maintenance technician then later as a coral propagation specialist. In 2013 I began volunteering at Paul Falkowski’s environmental biophysics and molecular ecology lab (Rugters, N.J.) conducting experiments to identify a primer set for a coral cadherin gene potentially aiding in cell to cell communic​ation between zooxanthellae and the coral host as well as an experiment designed to look at the calcium isotope ratios in the skeletons of corals grown under conditions with varying calcium concentrations. While in this lab I was invited to participate in an international coral genome project where I met Christian Voolstra and Manuel Aranda of KAUST. We agreed on a collaboration, and a little over a year later, here I am. So far I’ve conducted coral bleaching surveys and water quality testing and I’ll be working on a coral disease project with Greta Aeby of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. After my stay here I hope to return to KAUST for the Ms/PhD program next fall.