Coral reefs are the most marine diverse ecosystems. However, they are currently being threatened by various human-related activities: pollution, climate change, ocean acidification… There is a need to protect this fragile marine ecosystem and for we need to understand the biology and ecology of coral species. Since I started my career in biology I have been working in coral reef conservation, making a contribution on this field, especially in coral ecology, taxonomy and restoration.
Coral monitoring at the Galapagos Marine Reserve
Coral reefs at the Galapagos Marine Reserve were heavily impacted by el niño events. Part of the monitoring program is to monitor the status of coral reefs.
Coral taxonomy and phylogeography
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, US
Understanding species phylogeny is necessary to preserve marine species. At the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology I did my master thesis studying the taxonomy of the coral Pocillopora sp. This genus has a high morphological variability that can lead to species misidentification. I used a combination of morphology, micro-morphology and genetics to understand the taxonomy of this “mysterious” species.
During my master’s thesis I did research in coral taxonomy and evolution, contributing to the morphology and genetics of the coral Pocillopora at the Hawaii institute of Marine Biology.
I also collaborated with Rob Toonen and Zac Forsman, participating in a campaign in the Red Sea for study the phylogeography of the Coral Porites, within the Red Sea biodiversity project at KAUST.
Coral restoration and marine education
Four Seasons Resort, Seamarc company, Maldives
Coral restoration is one of the tools that marine scientists use to help to recover the reef. At the Four seasons resort in Maldives I worked in coral restoration and marine education, restorating the reef around the resort and educating guests about marine conservation.
Being the only coral researcher at the remote island of Kuda Huraa (area that was heavily impacted by coral bleaching), I contributed creating new frames for their restoration and maintaining around 1000 coral frames. I was also actively involved in scientific education and outreach explaining the importance of coral reefs and reef restoration to the tourist and local communities.
Fish & coral aquaculture
Mote marine laboratory, Florida, US
Aquaculture is necessary to help to recover endangered wild populations. At Mote Marine Laboratory I worked in developing effective bio-technologies for replenishing fish and corals.
I took care of the aquaculture and tank facilities for the restoration of the reef at Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, under the guidance of David Vaughan. There I worked in coral husbandry, aquaculture (operating and maintaining aquarium facilities, outdoor tanks, light experiments) and restoration (generate new colonies by fragmentation using epoxy).
Deep-sea corals ecology and reproduction
Marine Science Institute of Barcelona
I collaborated with the Marine Science Institute of Barcelona for studying the deep-coral banks in the Mediterranean Sea for their proposal to be declared marine reserves. There I also collaborate studying the reproduction of the Mediterranean coral Alcyonium.
Marti-Puig, Patricia; Forsman, Zac H; Haverkort-Yeh, Roxanne D; Knapp, Ingrid SS; Maragos, James E; Toonen, Robert J. Extreme phenotypic polymorphism in the coral genus Pocillopora; micro-morphology corresponds to mitochondrial groups, while colony morphology does not. Bulletin of Marine Science, Volume 90, Number 1, January 2014, pp. 211-231(21).
A Gori, C Orejas, T Madurell, L Bramanti, M Martins, E Quintanilla, P Marti-Puig, C Lo Iacono, P
Puig, S Requena, M Greenacre, J Gili. Bathymetrical distribution and size structure of cold-water
coral populations in the Cap de Creus and Lacaze-Duthiers canyons (northwestern Mediterranean). Biogeosciences Discussions Vol 9, 2012/12, p. 19053-19084.
Marti-Puig, Patricia (2011). Genetics and morphology of the genus Pocillopora between the
Hawaiian Archipelago and surrounding regions. MSc Thesis. Ghent University: Gent. 71 pp.
Marti-Puig, Patricia (2009). Ichtyofauna diversity and distribution in the Cap de Creus Canyon.
Degree thesis. Marine Science Institute of Barcelona