Ben C.C. Hume

Postdoctoral Fellows



​I originally graduated with a B.Sc. in Marine Biology and Oceanography from the University of Southampton at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton in the UK.
Following this, I worked as part of the Marine Environmental Programme at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) conducting daily surveys of the island’s reefs as part of a continuing long-term survey monitoring both ecological diversity and water quality parameters.
Upon leaving BIOS I joined a photovoltaics engineering start-up based out of Cambridge, UK. Although a divergence from research, it was in this position that I gained skills in informatics that facilitate my current research.
After my stint in industry I returned to academia completing an M.Sc. in Aquatic Biology and Resource Management at the University of Exeter, UK. During this time I worked with Astra Zeneca’s Brixham Environmental Laboratory where I undertook research into the differences in metabolic capacity between strains of Danio rerio.
Following this, I returned to the University of Southampton to complete my PhD. My research concerned the establishment of thermally tolerant corals from the Persian/Arabian gulf as model systems to better understand thermally perturbed coral populations globally. After completing my PhD I continued my research as a post-doctoral research fellow placing particular emphasis on the characterization of the algal symbionts (genus Symbiodinium) associated within these coral populations.

Research Interests

​With coral communities increasingly under threat from climate-related stressors, amongst others, reef communities, in concert with the plethora of services they provide, are in decline on a global scale. My research interests lie in elucidating the mechanisms by which these communities may adapt to environmental stressors. With an emphasis on the use of informatics, functional genomics, and experimental manipulations of holobiont components I will tackle specific aspects of the following wider questions:
● to what extent might shifts in the microbial components of the coral holobiont facilitate adaptation,
● how do these components interact with the coral host
● and to what degree may they modify the holobiont phenotype?
In resolving these questions reef stakeholders may better predict reef trajectories and direct conservation efforts with maximal efficacy.

Selected Publications

  • ​Hume BCC, Voolstra CR, Arif C, D'Angelo C, Burt JA, Eyal G, Loya Y, Wiedenmann J (2016) Ancestral genetic diversity associated with the rapid spread of stress-tolerant coral symbionts in response to Holocene climate change. P Natl Acad Sci USA 113: 4416-4421 doi 10.1073/pnas.1601910113
  • Hume BCC, D'Angelo C, Smith EG, Stevens JR, Burt J, Wiedenmann J (2015) Symbiodinium thermophilum sp nov., a thermotolerant symbiotic alga prevalent in corals of the world's hottest sea, the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Sci Rep-Uk 5 doi 10.1038/srep08562
  • D'Angelo C, Hume BCC, Burt J, Smith EG, Achterberg EP, Wiedenmann J (2015) Local adaptation constrains the distribution potential of heat-tolerant Symbiodinium from the Persian/Arabian Gulf. ISME J 9: 2551-2560 doi 10.1038/ismej.2015.80
  • Hume B, D'Angelo C, Burt J, Baker AC, Riegl B, Wiedenmann J (2013) Corals from the Persian/Arabian Gulf as models for thermotolerant reef-builders: Prevalence of clade C3 Symbiodinium, host fluorescence and ex situ temperature tolerance. Mar Pollut Bull 72: 313-322 doi 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.11.032


  • ​Ph.D. National Oceanography Centre, Southampton: University of Southampton, UK 2013
  • M.Sc. Aquatic Biology and Resource Management, Exeter University, UK 2010
  • B.Sc. Marine Biology and Oceanography, 2008

Research Interests Keywords

Marine microbiology Marine ecology Bioinformatics Genomics