I started working in coral reef ecology during my bachelor studies at the University of Amsterdam when I conducted my bachelor thesis fieldwork in Thailand. Here, I researched the contribution of local land run-off to marine inorganic nutrient concentrations and reef health. I also compared novel designs for coral nurseries.
Thereafter I enrolled in a Master in Limnology and Oceanography at the University of Amsterdam. Throughout my masters, I conducted two research projects. First, I researched top-down and bottom-up regulation of benthic reef algae and coral larvae settlement behavior on Caribbean reefs. Later, I studied the population genetics of a dinoflagellate endosymbiont associated with an invasive coral species in the Mediterranean Sea. I applied for the visiting student research project at KAUST to research the reversibility of harmful coral microbiome compositional changes induced by pollution.
Corals are susceptible to bleaching and may die following exposure to environmental disturbances or climatic events such as sustained high temperatures. Considering the increasing frequencies at which such events take place with global climate change and extensive coastal development, it is important to identify ways in which corals can acclimatize or adapt to changing environments. To this end, I am interested to identify selectable traits or methods of acclimatization in corals and their symbionts.