How we’re growing baby corals to rebuild reefs (Kristen Marhaver)

Kristen Marhaver studies corals, tiny creatures the size of a poppyseed that, over hundreds of slow years, create beautiful, life-sustaining ocean structures hundreds of miles long.

As she admits, it’s easy to get sad about the state of coral reefs; they’re in the news lately because of how quickly they’re bleaching, dying and turning to slime. But the good news is that we’re learning more and more about these amazing marine invertebrates — including how to help them (and help them help us). This biologist and TED Senior Fellow offers a glimpse into the wonderful and mysterious lives of these hard-working and fragile creatures.

Biographic notes: Kristen Marhaver is a marine biologist studying the ecology, reproduction and juvenile behavior of Caribbean reef corals in order to help restore the signals and factors that corals need to survive. Her work includes the development of new settlement surfaces, bacterial probiotic tools and rearing strategies for juvenile corals, including for threatened species. She also investigates the origins of coral reef biodiversity and the reproductive behavior of understudied species.

Marhaver’s research has been covered by over 300 national and international media outlets including NPR and BBC. Her honors include five fellowships and grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, four awards for science communication and a TED Senior Fellowship.

A scuba diver from the age of 15, Marhaver has spent over 1,000 hours underwater. Marhaver earned her Ph.D. in 2010 from the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is currently an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow based at the CARMABI Research Station on the island of Curaçao.

Outside of the lab, Marhaver advocates for smarter science communication and the development of better technologies for ecosystem restoration. Her advocacy work has been featured by outlets such as Wired UK, Google TechTalks, ScienceProgess, Mendeley and the San Francisco Exploratorium.
How we’re growing baby corals to rebuild reefs (Kristen Marhaver)

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