Coral Reef Ecology and Resilience Laboratory
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