In 2020, I joined the Coralassist Lab as an intern, to enhance previous experience gained in coral assisted gene flow and restoration. I won the competitive Susan L. Williams Coral Rehabilitation Fellowship from the Women Diver Hall of Fame to investigate the effect of larval rearing techniques on the effectiveness of sexual coral propagation. Together with the Coralassist Lab, we aim to determine the feasibility of upscaling coral larvae rearing, particularly focusing on overall success, and cost-effectiveness. It is imperative to improve our knowledge of low technology methods to sexually produce new coral colonies that can be used in restoration programs worldwide.
Through learning to scuba dive at the age of eleven, I have had an interest in exploring and understanding the Ocean. During my BSc degree, I picked up surfing and stand-up paddle boarding in the cold waters off the coast of Wales, the United Kingdom, and during my M.Sc., I became passionate about freedive training in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. I have seen first-hand the effect of anthropogenic influences on an ecosystem that gives me pure joy and relaxation, and so I personally see it as a duty to try and repay this back.
Following my BSc, I decided that I wanted to enhance my research skills, and this led to a successful appointment as a VSRP intern at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) with Professor Carlos M. Duarte. Here, I investigated the metabolism of Red Sea habitats which included a focus on seagrass, macroalgae, and corals. Under the supervision of Professor Christian R. Voolstra, I completed an MSc investigating the salinity-conveyed thermotolerance in the coral model Aiptasia, and how this influences the bacterial microbiome. We aimed to provide further insights into the effects of climate change on the coral metaorganism. Thereafter, I aimed to direct my previous work and skills and apply them to assisted evolution and coral restoration. In November 2019, I headed to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to intern for Dr. Kate Quigley, and team on the Coral Reef Recovery and Adaptation Program, specifically the Assisted Gene Flow Project. I am very excited to continue my career in working on solutions to mitigate coral reefs to climate change.