I am a trained marine scientist who originally graduated with a Diploma (equiv. M.Sc.) in Biology from the University of Vienna, Austria. In my diploma thesis in the framework of the SPICE (Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Ecosystems) II Project by the German BMBF as part of a collaboration between the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Germany and the University of Vienna, I investigated the biodiversity patterns and trophic relationships of fish assemblages in tropical seagrass meadows in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia.
Following this, I headed the Kuramathi EcoCentre, Rasdhoo Atoll, Maldives, for a year. While working with people and the ocean on a daily basis, I was constantly confronted with the immediate direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic activity on coral reefs. As a consequence, I decided to pursue a PhD on how anthropogenic impacts shape these unique ecosystems.
During my PhD at the University of Bremen, Germany, I conducted multidisciplinary work on the stress biology of tropical reef-building corals. This project involved the continuation of a fruitful collaboration between the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), the University of Bremen, and Prof. Voolstra’s lab, the Coral Reef Genomics Group at the Red Sea Research Centre (KAUST). Drawing from physiological, microbiological, and biogeochemical parameters to address stress responses of the coral holobiont, its symbiotic algae Symbiodinium, and the diverse bacterial community to dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen, I gained exciting insights into the complex interactions within the coral meta-organism.
Intrigued by this complexity, I have returned to KAUST as a postdoc to delve deeper into functional microbiology to expand our understanding of the role of the bacterium Endozoicomonas in coral holobiont functioning.
In my postdoctoral project I am targeting the potentially complex interactions within the different functional compartments of the coral holobiont. My project focuses on the Acropora humilis-Endozoicomonas association, which I am tackling by combining traditional culturing and functional microbiology approaches with state-of-the-art molecular and metabolomics tools along with (eco)physiological applications.
Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition 2015: Category Winner 'Behaviour' with photo: 'Going with the flow: schooling to avoid a predator'.
Red Sea Research Center