Coral Reef Ecology and Resilience Laboratory

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Samantha de Putron is the principle investigator of the Coral Reef Ecology and Resilience Lab at BIOS. She has conducted extensive research on coral reproductive timing, larval characteristics and recruitment success. She has also researched the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on calcification of new coral recruits, as well as the role of nutrition in the coral calcification response to OA. This research was scaled up to look at the role of basin-scale climate variability and changes in food availability as potential drivers in the decline of Atlantic corals. She worked for several years on the Bermuda Ocean Acidification and Coral Reef Investigation (BEACON), which characterized calcification at different scales including individual coral colonies, local reef communities, and regional coral reef ecosystems exposed to different chemical and environmental conditions over time and space in Bermuda. In addition, de Putron studied the coral microbiome and investigated changes in the microbial communities in corals in response to environmental changes and, in particular, temperature stress. This research also investigated how coral microbial taxa and functions are being selected at the reef scale, as there are key differences at sites across the Bermuda platform.

Currently, de Putron is researching coral resilience to thermal stress, including:documenting patterns of natural phenotypic variation in corals and their offspring among different reef zones in Bermuda and determining if the variations are due to genetics and/or epigenetics; determining if there are physiological responses to these variations, such that corals (adults, larvae and juveniles) at some reef zones are naturally more adapted to environmental conditions/stressors than others; assessing how corals respond to transplantation across reef zones, and examining mechanisms of acclimatization across various life stages of corals. The research uses a combination of in situ work and SCUBA with mesocosm and lab-based aquaria approaches. A recent NSF award (LINK to the news article) allowed for major upgrades of the BIOS mesocosm facility, making it state-of-the art, easy-to-use facility supporting novel climate change research and more.



2022 – 2025: Heising-Simons Foundation. Collaborative Research: Enhance coral resilience against climate warming. PIs: S de Putron, Y Sawall, H Putnam (URI), G Goodbody-Gringley (CCMI).

2021 – 2023: NSF DBI. Infrastructure Capacity for Biological Research: Major Improvements of the Outdoor Mesocosm Facility at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. Y. Sawall, S. de Putron

2017 – 2021: Heising-Simons Foundation International, Ltd. “How Resilient are Coral Reefs to Global Climate Change?” S. de Putron and G. Goodbody-Gringley (PIs, BIOS) in collaboration with H. Putnam (URI PI)

2015 – 2018: NSF BIO-OCE. “Collaborative Research: Identifying the Role of Basin-scale Climate Variability in the Decline of Atlantic Corals.” S. de Putron (PI, BIOS). In collaboration with A Cohen (PI, WHOI) and D. Sigman (PI Princeton University)

2015 – 2016: The Living Reefs Foundation

2010 – 2013: NSF BIO-OCE Ocean Acidification- Category 1. “Collaborative Research: An Investigation of the Role of Nutrition in the Coral Calcification Response to Ocean Acidification.” S. de Putron (PI, BIOS); in collaboration with A. Cohen, D. McCorkle, A. Tarrant (PIs, WHOI)

2009 – 2013: NSF BIO-OCE. “BEACON: BErmuda ocean Acidification and COral reef iNvestigation.”  Andreas Andersson (PI), N. R. Bates, S. de Putron.

2009 – 2010: Vita Foundation “Ocean acidification and coral research.” S. de Putron

2007 – 2008: Vulcan Inc. “Diversity of deep-sea corals and associated microbial communities on the Bermuda seamount.” R. Jones (PI), J. Loram, A. Venn, S. de Putron, S. McKenna and T. Knap.

2007 – 2008: BIOS Innovation Award. “Global Climate Change: coral larval development and recruitment as a sensitive biological indicator.” S. de Putron (PI)

2005 – 2009: Marine Environmental Program: designing and implementation of Bermuda’s long-term benthic monitoring plan including video surveys, coral condition monitoring and recruitment dynamics

2002 – 2005: Benthic Ecology Research Program: surveys, coral condition monitoring, recruitment dynamics. Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) program

Project Contact

Dr. Samantha de Putron
Associate Scientist/Assistant Director of Education for University Programs/Senior Lecturer
Tel: 441-297-1880 x250


Related Items

Nutrition and Coral Calcification

In The News

The BIOS National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program got underway in late August when nine students from universities across the U.S., and including Puerto Rico, arrived on campus. The annual 12-week internship program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in research projects under the mentorship of BIOS faculty. The 2022 BIOS REU program features three research themes in coral reef science.

Nine Undergraduate Students Receive NSF Support for Research Internships at BIOS

Over two days in mid-August, BIOS supported the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute’s (BUEI’s) inaugural Earth Reporters Camp. The week-long program focused on providing students aged 11 to 14 with the skills required to investigate and report on environmental topics. After a lesson at BUEI in science communication from BIOS science writer Ali Hochberg, Earth Reporters visited BIOS to hear how local research is helping to shed light on global climate change. Marine ecologist Samantha de Putron described an ongoing project aimed at understanding how corals respond and adapt to rising temperature stress caused by climate change.

BIOS Scientists Support BUEI Climate Camp

This year, seventeen Bermudian students were selected for summer internships through the BIOS Bermuda Program, which offers participants the opportunity to conduct research projects under the mentorship of BIOS faculty and scientific staff. Jalisa Caines, a 2022 Bermuda Program Gray Intern, works in the Microbial Ecology Laboratory on a project investigating the expansion of the oxygen minimum zone at Devil’s Hole in Harrington Sound, Bermuda, and its effect on the nitrogen cycle.

‘An Amazing Place to Learn and Grow’

Beginning in June, with support from Heising-Simons Foundation International, Ltd. a multi-institution team of scientists will investigate how corals respond to thermal stress events. A large part of the research at BIOS will take place at the Institute’s state-of-the-art mesocosm facility, which allows the team to place live corals in aquaria where they can control and manipulate a suite of environmental variables, such as temperature, pH, and light.

New Grant Supports Research into Coral Resilience and Climate Change

A grant from the National Science Foundation will bring a series of improvements to the outdoor mesocosm facility over the coming year. Under the supervision of associate scientist Yvonne Sawall (left) and associate scientist & assistant director of university programs Samantha de Putron, the facility is set to be transformed into the Bermuda Marine Mesocosm Facility—a larger, more flexible outdoor space in which scientists can perform a wide range of research on the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. Sawall shows living coral specimens to a group of students from The Berkeley Institute during a field trip funded by the BIOS Curriculum Enrichment Program.

Grant Brings Upgrades to Benthic Ecology Research Facility at BIOS

A partnership between BIOS, Warwick Academy, and the Living Reefs Foundation is allowing local students to participate in ongoing scientific research, learn valuable laboratory skills, and play a role in the restoration of Bermuda’s coral reefs. Earlier this month, BIOS science and education staff visited the Academy’s newly constructed Marine Science Center to deliver ten colonies of four species of Bermuda corals to Warwick Academy staff, including Science Lab Technician Rosalind Wingate (left) and Head of Science Jessica Young.

BIOS and Living Reefs Foundation Bring Coral Science Into the Classroom

A recent publication in the journal Global Change Biology documents the results of two years of experiments conducted at BIOS by a team of researchers including Kevin Wong (shown here), a doctoral student at the University of Rhode Island and first author on the paper. The results of the experiments provide insight into coral resilience, demonstrating that adult corals that survive high-intensity environmental stresses can produce offspring better suited to survive in new environments. Primary funding for the study came from the Heising-Simons Foundation International, Ltd. with additional funding from the National Geographic Society and the Canadian Associates of BIOS (CABIOS).

Coral Research Conducted at BIOS Leads to Publication for Doctoral Student


BIOS Faculty and Staff to Participate in Virtual Career Fair


A New Tool for Coral Research