Till Röthig


PhD Class of 2017



​I studied biology at the University of Cologne and later specialized in marine biology at the University of Bremen. I focused on marine zoological ecology and graduated with a German Diploma. Afterwards I conducted my final thesis “The combined effects of climate change and herbicides on coral and crustose coralline algae” at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

Research Interests

​Coral reefs are extremely biodiverse and of high economic value. Their functional unit is the coral holobiont (i.e. coral host, symbiotic algae, and associated bacteria). The recent decline in coral reefs worldwide is associated to global climate change but also to more local factors, like pollution. This is my area of interest: With a strong background in marine ecology and coral ecotoxicology my research is focused on functional ecology of corals. I am especially interested in the response of the coral holobiont to different environmental and anthropogenic stressors. My main projects incorporate the exposure of Red Sea corals to increased salinity and hydrocarbon levels. Salinity in the Red Sea is higher than elsewhere and anthropogenic activities (e.g. desalination plants) may locally result in even higher levels. Similarly, natural oil seeps release polyaromatic hydrocarbons into the Red Sea, but extraction and other human activities may considerably increase the input of crude oil and its derivatives into the marine environment. Understanding the functionality of corals and the impact of anthropogenic activities may help preserving these unique ecosystems in the face of climate change.​

Selected Publications

  • Röthig T*, Yum LK*, Kremb SG, Roder C, Roik A, Voolstra CR. (2017) Microbial community composition of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provides insight into functional adaption to a unique environment. Scientific Reports 7: 44714.
  • Röthig T*, Costa RM*, Simona F, Baumgarten S, Torres AF, Radhakrishnan A, Aranda M and Voolstra CR (2016) Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with the Coral Model Aiptasia in Aposymbiotic and Symbiotic States with Symbiodinium. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:234.
  • thigT, Roder C, Ziegler M, Kremb SG, Voolstra CR (2016) Year-Long Monitoring of Physico-Chemical and Biological Variables Provide a Comparative Baseline of Coral Reef Functioning in the Central Red Sea. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0163939.
  • g T, Ochsenkühn MA, Roik A, van der Merwe R, Voolstra CR. (2016) Long-term salinity tolerance is accompanied by major restructuring of the coral bacterial microbiome. Molecular Ecology 25(6), 1308-1323.
  • Röthig T, Uthicke S. (2011) Herbicides increase the vulnerability of corals to rising sea surface temperature. Limnology & Oceanography 56(2), 471–485.

*equivalent contributing author

Scientific and Professional Membership

​Mideast Coral Reef Society (MCRS)
International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS)

Research Interests Keywords

Marine ecology Marine microbiology