I am a Marine Biologist with a particular interest in what role hypoxia plays in shaping the healthy functioning of corals, and the oxygen thresholds that may limit corals to exist under future oxygen levels predicted for coral reefs.
I grew up in Northern Ireland and completed my Integrated Masters of Marine Biology at University of Southampton (England) in 2018 with a focus on the stress response of coral host pigments and the application of these pigments as coral health biomarkers. In the same year I was awarded the UTS President’s Scholarship and International Research Scholarship to undertake my PhD at University of Technology Sydney.
Project Title: ‘Revealing the mechanistic basis for coral hypoxia sensitivity versus tolerance via coupled transcriptomics-metabolomics platforms.’
Background: Climate change and land use development are rapidly deoxygenating shallow water coral reefs and amplifying hypoxia exposure, yet we have no knowledge of the oxygen thresholds that sustain ‘normal’ coral functioning, or the mechanisms corals’ employ to tolerate hypoxia. For the first time, coupled advanced oxygen sensing, metabolic physiology, transcriptomics and metabolomics techniques will help to transform our understanding of how corals and their associated microbial communities respond to reduced oxygen conditions, which is essential to improve coral reef ecosystem management.
Additional Interests: Optical fluorescence biomarkers for coral health, Microsensor techniques for biogeochemical analysis of microenvironments, coral larval restoration, and aquarium-based coral propagation to be used in cutting-edge research.