NSU Oceanographic Center Seminar Schedule

Upcoming Seminars

Steven Miller, Ph.D. 

NSU Oceanographic Center - Fall 2014 Date still TBD - "Coral reef decline continues, good news is scarce, but all is not lost"


The US Environmental Protection Agency listed two corals as threatened in 2006 and they are evaluating whether or not to list seven more Caribbean coral species later this year. All of this was done based on perceived vulnerabilities to ocean warming and acidification, coral diseases, life history factors, and geographic ranges, but actual population estimates were not considered.  The absence of population data remains a critical gap in the EPA review process.  Therefore, using data from a Keys-wide monitoring program, we (the SCREAM Team) calculated the population  status and trends of all nine coral species, with surprising results.

Past Seminars

David Weinstein, Ph.D. Candidate

NSU Oceanographic Center - Friday, August 15th, 2014 4:30PM - "Building structure in deep reefs: Carbonate budgets of mesophotic coral ecosystems"


The architectural complexity, spatial zonation, and geomorphic diversity created by coral reefs provide the vital foundational characteristics responsible for many of the ecological and economic benefits these habitats provide. Much research has shown that shallow-water coral reef geomorphology and structural sustainability is highly determined by chemical, biological, and physical constructive or destructive carbonate cycling processes that deposit or remove carbonate and regulate net calcium carbonate accumulation.  However, little is known about these processes and their relationship to reef structure in mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs), deep light-dependent reef communities (30-150 m) valued due to high biodiversity, large spatial coverage, and the potential connectivity and refugia potential for species threatened by continual global shallow coral reef deterioration.  Census-based carbonate budgets (summations of carbonate production and sedimentation minus carbonate loss through physical and biological erosion) were calculated at structurally dissimilar mesophotic reef habitats and shallow-water counterparts south of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands to investigate the role of sedimentary processes in the structural development, maintenance, and habitat diversity of mesophotic reefs. 

Cheryl Hankins, Ph.D.

NSU Oceanographic Center - Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 3:00-5:30PM - 4th floor seminar room #406 - "Effects of land-based stressers on different life stages of laboratory cultured coral"


I received a B.S. in Marine Biology from The University of West Florida (2002) after transferring from University of Memphis. I continued my studies at The University of West Florida and received my M.Sc. in 2007. I've been a coral biologist with EPA since 2010 but worked here previously as a Student Services Contractor while in graduate school. Current research involves studying effects of coral survival, growth, and recruitment due to land-based stressors, primarily sediment. Data collected will validate conceptual models which will assist with land management.

Vivian Cumbo, PhD

Research Associate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia

NSU Oceanographic Center - Thursday, June 19 at 4:30 pm at the OC Auditorium - "Establishment and development of symbiosis in corals"


Coral reefs thrive because of the symbiotic partnership between corals and Symbiodinium. While this partnership is one of the keys to the success of coral reef ecosystems, surprisingly little is known about coral symbiosis, in particular, the establishment and development of symbiosis. Most corals acquire Symbiodinium anew from the environment each generation (i.e., horizontal transmission) at the larval or primary polyp stage, thereby giving the host the opportunity to develop new symbiotic associations between generations. Symbiodinium diversity is high and different types provide different benefits to the coral. I used larvae of the genus Acropora to explore initial patterns of association between the host and Symbiodinium spp. I examined the flexibility of the association during the early life stage of corals, and how the prevailing environment and competition between Symbiodinium types affect the establishment and development of symbiosis. These results show that transgenerational changes in symbionts may function as a mechanism by which organisms that engage in flexible mutualistic relationships can rapidly adjust to changing environmental conditions. However, establishment of a stable symbiosis may be compromised as symbionts compete for space and resources within the host.


Vivian is from Sydney, Australia, where she completed a BSc in Microbiology (Hons) and Marine Biology at the University of New South Wales. Her honours thesis investigated the antimicrobial compounds in the scleractinian corals Montipora digitata and Montipora tortuosa. Her interests in corals and coral reef ecosystems saw her embarking on a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Terry Hughes, Prof. Andrew Baird and Dr. Madeleine van Oppen at James Cook University. Her PhD research explored the initial patterns of association between the coral host and Symbiodinium spp., and how environmental conditions affect the establishment and development of symbiosis. Vivian continued her research on coral as a NSF Postdoctoral Researcher at California State University, Northridge with Prof. Peter Edmunds.  There she focused on the area of global climate change and its effects on the early life stages of corals; specifically the effects of rising temperature and ocean acidification on the physiology of larvae, newly settled recruits and juvenile corals. Currently, Vivian is a Research Associate in the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, and her research is focused on coral systematics, coral reproductive biology, larval ecology and symbiosis. Vivian has conducted coral research in the Great Barrier Reef, Red Sea, Okinawa, Taiwan and Moorea.

Dr. Nick Funicelli

Thursday April 10, COE auditorium, 5:00 PM- "How to get a Job"

Friday April 11, COE auditorium, 4:30 PM- "Marine Protected Areas: Insights from Dr. Nick Funicelli"


Dr. Funicelli retired from federal service in 2007.   During his 30-year tenure he has held positions with the Corps Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Biological Service and U.S. Geological Survey.  He is currently a Researcher Emeritus with USGS, and also holds adjunct faculty positions with Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida, and the Oceanographic Center at Nova Southeastern University.  He teaches graduate classes at both Universities.  Since retiring he has graduated two masters candidates and currently directs four masters candidates.  Dr. Funicelli has authored over forty peer-reviewed publications as well as several book chapters and popular articles. He is considered an expert on Marine Protected Areas. He served on the task force that created the Tortugas National Sanctuary. He is currently a consultant to the Colombian government relative to the operation of the Star Flower Marine Sanctuary. His most recent research concerns the creation of “YY” males as means to control non-indigenous fish populations.

Dr. Nick Funicelli explains his "How to get a job" presentation.

"The job lecture is one that has really has taken on a life of its own.  About three years ago a fellow faculty member here at UF asked me to talk a bit about, how, when I was with the feds, I selected biologist for positions in my lab.  He figured since I had hired well over 100 biologist in my 30 year federal career I had some insights as to what students should know relative to how we selected biologist from entry level techs, to P.I.'s.  Well I suppose the students got something out of it as I've been asked to give the lecture every year, as well as requests,"

William Browne, Ph.D.

Friday March 14, COE auditorium, 4:30 PM- " Insights from the genome of an ancient metazoan lineage: the Ctenophora"

Univ. of Miami

Biographical Sketch:
Dr. Browne completed his PhD in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Chicago followed by Postdoctoral work at the University of Hawaii’s Kewalo Marine Lab.  He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Miami and a Research Collaborator with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.  His work is focused on patterns of change underlying organismal diversity.  His lab currently uses the lobate ctenophore Mnemiopsis leiydi and the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis as model systems for both developmental and evolutionary investigations.  His talk will address recent genomics work in his lab.

Carmen Ablan Lagman, Ph.D.

Friday Feb 28, COE auditorium, 4:30 PM-  "What can genomics do for conservation in biodiversity hotspots?"

Associate Professor, Biology Department
Head, Biodiversity Unit
Center for Natural and Environmental Science Research
College of Science
De La Salle University
2401 Taft Avenue Manila, 1004 PHILIPPINES

Biographical Sketch:
Dr. Ma. Carmen Ablan-Lagman is a 2014 Fulbright Senior Faculty Fellowship awardee to Oregon State University in Corvallis to conduct research on population genomics and gene expression in the mud crab Scylla serrata. She is an Associate Professor at the De La Salle University in the Philippines, an affiliate of the Shields Ocean Center (SHORE) and a research associate of the Philippine National Museum of Natural History.  Prior to joining DLSU in 2007, Dr. Ablan was a Research Scientist at the WorldFish Center, one of 16 centers of Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research and was based in Malaysia, Japan and Thailand.

For the past 13 years, Dr. Ablan has been conducting research on population genetics and systematics of coral reef fish and invertebrates specifically for applications to for biodiversity conservation, fisheries management and aquaculture.  She has run several multi-site and multi-country collaborative projects, the most recent of which are the NSF-PEER funded PhilFishConnect project with 4 other research institutions in the Philippines, the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation funded Population Inter dependencies in the South China Sea Ecosystem (PISCES) initiative with 6 other universities in Southeast Asia and the Coral Triangle Partnerships for International Research and Education (CT-PIRE) project with the Old Dominion University, Boston University and Undayana University in Indonesia.  Dr. Ablan has been part of several international working groups on biodiversity and fisheries convened by the WorldBank, UNEP and the FAO, contributing to the discussions on conservation and management of genetic resources and population structure and connectivity for near shore marine habitats.  In her talk, Dr. Ablan will address the question “how could the ability to study genomes benefit efforts to conserve diversity in biodiversity hotspots” providing some insight into the context of science in the developing world.  

Mark T. Hamann, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmacognosy and Chemistry/Biochemistry

Spring QEP seminar, Marine Natural Products Chemist - Dr Mark Hamann -  6 pm Friday Feb 21, 2014;  RSVP to ocadmissions@nova.edu

"Transforming harmful and nuisance algal blooms into innovative new treatments for cancer.  Drug Discovery and Microbial Ecology"


Dr. Hamann is a Professor of Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology, Chemistry & Biochemistry as well as a Research Professor with the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi and an Adjunct Professor with the Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB), University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI). Dr. Hamann received his B.Sc. in Chemistry & Biology from Bemidji State University in Minnesota. He has several years experience in GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing and then completed a Ph.D. degree in Marine Natural Products Chemistry in 1992 at the University of Hawaii, Chemistry Department under the guidance of the late Professor Paul Scheuer -a pioneer in the discovery and chemical ecology of marine natural products. During his 20-year research career, Dr. Hamann has published over 100 scientific papers, reviews and book chapters. He has received numerous awards and honors, organized numerous scientific symposia and meetings and frequently delivers keynote or plenary presentations at international conferences. Dr. Hamann's research program includes an extensive array of collaborations with the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industry as well as Federal research programs focused on the development of treatments for infectious, neurological diseases and cancer from marine derived secondary metabolites. Dr. Hamann's group has a small pipeline of marine natural product drug leads. The most advanced product currently investigated by his research group are the kahalalides. The lead compound, Kahalalide F is covered by U.S. patent number 6,274,551 which is assigned to PharmaMar S.A., a pharmaceutical company in Madrid. PharmaMar is developing this novel class of anticancer agents, and Kahalalide F is currently in phase II clinical trials.

Cheryl Hankins