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Associate Professor of Marine Biology
Many coral-reef "animals" are actually obligate animal-algal symbioses – literally part animal, part plant. Reef-building corals and giant clams are familiar examples. I study these symbioses from evolutionary, ecological, and physiological perspectives. Because the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) are not at all well-known, I am focusing on them, using molecular biological and physiological methods. This work includes systematics, descriptive and experimental ecology in natural populations, and studies of physiology and gene expression in the laboratory. The long-term goal is to understand how two very different kinds of organisms create, through symbiosis, the dominant members of coral reef communities, and how these organisms adapt to their variable environments.
Rowan, R. 2004. Thermal adaptation in reef coral symbionts. Nature 430: 742.
Dr. Robert Rowan
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