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Everything's coming up corals
Date:5/8/2008

egree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated summa cum laude. After graduation, she took a year off to participate in a coral reef internship program in Eilat, Israel. For her Ph.D., Soffer is studying the physiology of algal symbionts to understand how the biology of their coral hosts is affected by the type of symbiont each coral contains. Employing biotechnology and experimental work on corals, her research also aims to develop new methods for studying how corals acquire new symbionts. Soffer is currently funded by the NSF Science Made Sensible fellowship, where she is the resident scientist at North Dade Middle School in Opa Locka, Fla.

Ross Cunning, who will be joining Bakers lab this fall, grew up in Indianapolis, Ind., and graduated in 2007 from Duke University with a degree in Biology and Environmental Science. For the past year he has been studying the microbial ecology of corals at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., with Dr. Kim Ritchie. At The Rosenstiel School, Cunning will be studying the interactions between corals and their microbial symbiont communities in order to understand how differences in these symbioses affect the ecology of corals, especially in relation to climate change.

These prestigious student awards come on the heels of Bakers recent recognition as a 2008 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation. Baker is helping to develop novel and groundbreaking techniques to enhance the thermal tolerance of corals, and help them to survive dangerously warming oceans around the world. Baker earned his Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries from the University of Miami in 1999. His 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.

The year 2008 has been designated the International Year of the Reef by the Interna
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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert

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