Combined with overfishing, disease, pollution, and habitat destruction, warming oceans have contributed to the death of corals worldwide, even on some of the worlds most protected reefs. The year of 2008 has been declared the International Year of the Reef, a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the threats facing coral reefs, and their value in protecting coastlines, providing habitat that supports vital fisheries worldwide, generating tourism revenues and representing unique biodiversity hotspots.
Dr. Bakers initial breakthrough discovery that reef corals may be able to withstand climate change by switching algal partners was published in the journal Nature and hailed by Discover magazine as one of the "Top 100 Science Stories of 2001. His follow-up work on corals response to climate change has been underway for almost nine years: since 2005 at the University of Miamis Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science; as a research scientist with the Pew Institute for Ocean Science; and previously, at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York., where he remains an Associate Conservation Zoologist. His collection of more than 12,000 samples of coral tissue, from over 20 countries on four continents, is maintained under long-term cryopreservation at the University at temperatures of -176oF (-80oC). In the lab, Dr. Baker and his team of graduate student researchers run experiments on live corals, and extract and purify DNA from corals and their algae, in a quest to pinpoint the specific genetic and physiological factors that enable certain corals more bleaching-resistant.
Since the early 1990s, the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation has been awarded to more than 100 leading marine scientists, economists, attorneys, and other ocean conservationists from 29 countries. The fellowship program supports innovative projects led by mid-career, emerging leaders in ocean conservation and designed to develop and implement solution
|Contact: Kathryn Cervino|
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science