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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Coral reefs are complex ecosystems that face many complex, interrelated challenges that are often unique to each reef. Understanding these systems and addressing the challenges each one faces demands the attention of a motivated, multi-disciplinary team. Behind many of the people listed her is a further list of talented scientists, students, and technicians. If you would like to find a way to get involved, please feel free to email the team.

Amy Apprill

Amy Apprill

Associate Scientist with Tenure, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

Dr. Apprill’s research focuses on microbial communities (or "microbiomes") residing in association with sensitive animal hosts and ecosystems of the ocean. She is interested in how microbes contribute to and reflect the health of their host or ecosystem. Apprill is an avid SCUBA diver and explorer of worldwide coral reefs.

Yogi Girdhar

Yogesh Girdhar

Associate Scientist, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

There are many algorithmic challenges that are unique to marine robotics. Factors such as: lack of high bandwidth communications, large geographic distances, and lack of high quality maps, make a strong case for development of algorithms that can enable autonomous operation of these robots. Dr. Girdhar's current and future research aims to develop such algorithms, specifically in the context of adaptive data collection tasks, and analysis of mission data, and particularly as they apply to missions carried out in the complex environment of coral reefs.

Colleen Hansel

Colleen Hansel

Senior Scientist, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

Dr. Hansel is broadly interested in the geochemical controls on and signatures of organismal activity and health, spanning microbes to seaweed to corals within both natural and engineered ecosystems. Her work focuses on measuring and developing sensors for a suite of chemicals involved in health and stress, including reactive oxygen species and volatile halogenated organic compounds. Her research group is also interested in the role of trace metal micronutrients in coral growth and immunity.

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Konrad Hughen

Senior Scientist, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

Dr. Hughen's research seeks to reconstruct past changes in climatic and environmental conditions in order to understand the mechanisms of abrupt climate shifts and their impacts on terrestrial and marine ecosystems.  In addition, he uses these techniques to investigate the responses of ecosystems to climate change. Multi-proxy records from sediments show the timing of vegetation changes following rapid shifts in climate. Recent work with corals is investigating the response of coral symbionts to environmental stress including thermal bleaching and exposure to pathogens.

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Yaqin Liu

Assistant Scientist, Marine Policy Center

Dr. Liu is an environmental economist studying coupled human-natural systems in coastal zones and oceans. Her research involves modeling human behavior in utilizing marine resources with feedbacks from ecosystems. Originally from China, Dr. Liu holds an M.S in environmental economics from University of Georgia and a PhD in economics from Georgia State University. She spent a year at Duke University as a postdoc researcher before joining the Marine Policy Center at WHOI.

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Matt Long

Associate Scientist, Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry

Dr Long's research explores the ways that natural and anthropogenic processes influence the structure and function of marine ecosystems through unique engineering solutions, advanced instrumentation, and technology development. Studies of biogeochemical cycling, physical transport processes, and bio-physical interactions are principle components of his research into carbon and nutrient cycling in coastal environments.

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Jason Kapit

Senior Engineer, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

Kapit is an engineer who specializes in the development of instruments and chemical sensors for exploring the environment.  His interests are in how important measurements can be made smaller, more cost effective, easier, and more widespread. 

Aran Mooney

Aran Mooney

Associate Scientist with Tenure, Biology

Dr. Mooney is interested in how animals detect the world around them. How they hear, find food, communicate, navigate and avoid predators, and how humans impact an animal's sensory biology. His lab generally takes a bioacoustics approach to investigating these ideas but we are open to all sorts of integrative and comparative methods to get at cool research questions. They examine sensory biology in a range of taxa, from bears to fish, but we tend to focus on odontocetes and cephalopods.

Gordon Zhang

Gordon Zhang

Associate Scientist with Tenure, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on physical and biological processes in coastal oceans, including interactions of coastal flow features with complex bathymetry and with processes in estuaries and the open ocean. He combines numerical ocean models with observational analysis to improve the understanding of coastal ocean systems and the effect of natural and anthropogenic forces on the coastal environments (including coral reefs) that are directly connected to the well-being of our society.