I am a trained marine biologist with a Diploma in Natural Sciences obtained from the University of Vienna. My thesis was conducted in the framework of the SPICE (Science for the Protection of Indonesian Coastal Ecosystems) II Project by the German BMBF and was part of a collaboration between the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Germany and the University of Vienna in Austria. My project focused on biodiversity patterns and trophic relationships of fish assemblages in tropical seagrass meadows in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. After my undergrad, I had the honour to head the Kuramathi EcoCentre, Rasdhoo Atoll, Maldives, for a year. This opportunity turned out to be a great blend of work experience in tourism and applied conservation. However, 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 wanted to learn more about how human actions affect these unique ecosystems.
For my PhD I therefore decided to conduct multidisciplinary work on the stress biology of tropical reef-building corals. This led to the continuation of a fruitful collaboration between the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) and the University of Bremen, Germany, and Prof. Voolstra’s lab, the Coral Reef Genomics Group at the Red Sea Research Centre (KAUST). In my multidisciplinary project I investigated the effects of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen on the coral holobiont. Drawing from physiological, microbiological, and biogeochemical parameters to address responses by the holobiont, its symbiotic algae Symbiodinium, and the diverse bacterial community, I was able to learn more about the complex interactions within the coral meta-organism. Intrigued by this complexity, I found that I want to delve deeper into coral functional ecology and microbiology for my postdoc. During my research stay at the Coral Reef Genomics Lab I am therefore going to conduct preliminary molecular and physiological work on coral-associated nitrogen fixation.
Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition 2015: Category Winner 'Behaviour' with photo: 'Going with the flow: schooling to avoid a predator'.
Red Sea Research Center