Elise Keister headshot.

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My primary interests are in energetics and gene expression in cnidarians, especially scleractinian corals, when exposed to thermal stress (TS) and ocean acidification (OA).

Scleractinian corals serve as the foundation of coral reef ecosystems, building the structures that provide habitats for millions of organisms. These ecosystems are among the most diverse in the world and their decline will have a long-lasting impact on our coastlines, seafood supply, and economies.

This decline is increasing at an alarming rate, due to the stresses that climate change induces on such sensitive invertebrates, as evidenced by the ever more prevalent coral bleaching events occurring world-wide. I have witnessed this decline, on a smaller scale, while living in south Florida for seven years, and thus my passion to work with these important organisms was ignited.

I have been previously involved in research projects assessing the physiological impact of OA/TS on four Caribbean coral species, damage on plankton communities following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, impact of different Symbiodinium types on recently settled coral recruits, biodiversity of Prochlorococcus in the Tropical Eastern Pacific, and the impact of heavy metals on Foraminifera growth.

Faculty Advisor: Dustin Kemp

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