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Students


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Zach Quinlan

NSF GRFP scholar – 4th year PhD student

I am extremely fascinated by coral exometabolomes and the hidden insights they can give us into the functioning of the coral holobiont. I am currently trying to leverage our collaborations with the mass spectrometry community to pursue greater insights into how chemical ecology can help with coral reef mamangement and restoration.

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Emily Nixon

1st year PhD Student

My research revolves around coral holobiont symbioses during early coral ontogeny. Specifically, I am interested in utilizing molecular techniques to study the role of microbial community assemblage on recruitment success, growth and survival. Currently, I work alongside restoration practitioners to study symbiont (Symbiodinium spp.) community shifting in juvenile corals and the potential of artificial symbiont inoculation for increasing post-settlement survivorship.

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Catherine Mullenmeister

1st year PhD Student

Catherine graduated from UC San Diego in June 2020 with a double major in Marine Biology (B.S.) and Environmental Chemistry (B.S.) She is now a first year PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography whose research involves characterizing interactions between coral, algae, and microbes on coral reef ecosystems. She is interested in analyzing how different classes of producers and their unique microbial communities change the dissolved organic matter pool through untargeted metabolomics. Through this work, Catherine hopes to connect these biological interactions with physical dynamics on coral reefs such as oxygen concentration, pH, and dissolved organic matter diversity that may influence benthic community structure.

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Sabrina Sauri

Masters student

I graduated from UC San Diego with a BS in Molecular biology in Spring 2021. Currently, I am in the contiguous BS/MS program for Marine Biology here at Scripps where my project is focusing on the interactions of microbial communities between coral and turf algae during stress events like bleaching. Using molecular techniques I hope to learn how algae overgrowth on coral alters the distribution of bacterial communities and Symbiodinium spp. along the interface as well as throughout the coral holobiont.

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Bibi Renssen

Post-bac research intern

I graduated in May 2021 from the University of San Diego with a B.A. in Environmental and Ocean Sciences with an emphasis on Marine Ecology. I am currently a post-bacc intern in Kelly’s lab, assisting in collecting, processing, and analyzing samples from diverse marine ecosystems to help research and better understand their microbial community dynamics. I am particularly fascinated in coral reproduction and larval settlement, and aim to better understand what external factors accrue to the survival and success of these organisms during this pivotal growth time.

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Our Fearless Leader:


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Linda Wegley Kelly, PhD

Always in search of her next dose of sugar.
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