Feature Friday: Nicola Kriefall

Hi, Nicola Kriefall! Welcome to ReefBites.

Twitter: @MolecularQueen 

Nicola is a Biology Ph.D. student at Boston University. She studies the effects of Hurricane Irma on coral microbial partners in the Florida Keys. Read more about Nicola’s work below! 

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

Hurricanes cause immense damage to coral reefs, both physically during the storm and for weeks afterwards by changing the local water flow, turbidity, and temperature. I aim to examine whether these changes due to Hurricane Irma significantly disrupted the algal & bacterial communities hosted by two reef-building coral species in the Florida Keys. 

Why is this research/project important and timely?

Reefs in the Florida Keys are currently under a multitude of environmental stressors, including stronger tropical storms. 

What is the broader impact and implication of your findings?

We are just beginning to understand the role of the microorganismal communities in the health of coral hosts, so my research aims to elucidate the links between tropical storm disturbances and these important organisms. 

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

I’ve wanted to become a marine biologist for as long as I can remember. Corals especially captured my attention due to how threatened they are under climate change, we need to raise awareness and study them now before it’s too late. 

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

I use an app called Time Out which forces me to stop staring at my computer for at least a few minutes every hour. 

Any additional information or comments you would like to share?

See my blog post here for more thoughts on my work in Florida ☺ 

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