Feature Friday: Colleen Bove

Hi, Colleen Bove! Great to have you on Reefbites.

Twitter: @seabove7

Colleen is an Ph.D. candidate in the Castillo lab at the University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on tropical coral ecophysiology and global change. Learn more about Colleen’s work below!

Give an elevator pitch of what your research/project is about.

My research looks to better understand how Caribbean reef-building corals respond under global change. Specifically, I am quantifying several growth and physiological parameters on several Caribbean coral species after being exposed to a long-term ocean acidification and warming common garden experiment.

Why is this research/project important and timely?

This research is critical because of the increasing frequency and intensity of global bleaching events, but specifically those occurring in the already-degraded Caribbean. Additionally, we do not know how the added chronic stress from changing ocean chemistry may play a role in the ability of corals to recover from such bleaching events, or even other local stress events.  

What is the broader impact and implication of your findings?

With these data, I am hoping to be able to identify different levels of resilience to acidification and warming within Caribbean species and distinguish potential pathways for our observed responses. Additionally, these results may aid in conservation efforts within Belize as they assess options for protecting and maintaining their important coral reefs.

How did you come to work in this field/project?

I have wanted to study coral reefs since I was young, so I knew that I was going to do something with corals. I started doing global change research on corals as an undergraduate under Dr. Alina Szmant and she was just so passionate about the research and a vocal advocate for climate action that I decided I had to stick with it. Since then, I have fallen in love with the Caribbean coral species and fascinated by all the ways corals are responding/coping with global change.

What is your top graduate school life hack or survival resource?

Coffee and a (student) Spotify subscription make all the difference. Getting uninterrupted music is critical when troubleshooting in R or trying to focus on writing, they have a playlist for everything!

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