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).
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.
*equivalent contributing author